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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

RNLI lifesavers from Portrush to feature in new series of TV documentary Saving Lives at Sea

Dave Robinson (Cox Mechanic), Des Austin (Coxswain) and Mark Mitchell (Deputy Cox)

The volunteer lifeboat crew of Portrush RNLI will be taking to the small screen on Tuesday 2 November as they feature in the tenth episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea. Real life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm as well as being available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast.

Real rescue footage is accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families. This forthcoming and final episode of the series, on Tuesday 2 November, sees Portrush RNLI rescue a teenage boy who gets into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head.

As the all-weather lifeboat approaches the scene, the crew observe a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who is wearing a wetsuit is struggling against an ebbing tide which is pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvres the lifeboat close to where the casualty is in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic Dave Robinson dons a drysuit and PPE. A line is attached to the mechanic who jumps into the water and grabs the casualty to safety. The lifeboat crew administer casualty care to the boy who is showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and is suffering from the effects of shock.

Des Austin, Coxswain of the Portrush RNLI lifeboat featured in the forthcoming episode, said:

“It's great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home.”

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 253 people. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. RNLI lifeguards meanwhile, responded to 225 incidents coming to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.


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