Reliability, Performance, Compliance


Flares helped in rescue of woman from water at Barrow-in-Furness

Coastguard Furness

Flares played their part in the rescue of a woman from Walney Channel, Barrow-in-Furness, in North West England.

Coastguard and other emergency services responded to reports of a woman in the water at Jubilee Bridge, Walney Channel, early one morning in January.

A forward command post was set up, involving Furness Coastguard, Millom Coastguard Rescue Team, Cumbria Police, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service. A search plan was then drawn up using local knowledge about tides, flows and snagging areas.

In the darkness, Barrow Lifeboat made a sweeping search of the channel whilst the teams commenced searching and setting off pyrotechnic flares to illuminate Walney Channel.

The woman was successfully rescued not long after, clinging to a boat. She was suffering from hypothermia and was passed over to the care of the Ambulance Service.

Furness Coastguard said on Facebook it was, “A very positive outcome to what was almost a tragedy in our waters. Another great example of multi-agency work.”

The image is a stock photo from Furness Coastguard.

Barrow Fire station manager Roger Exley agreed, saying, "In my eyes it was a very successful operation. This was a great example of the emergency services working together.”

In rounding up 2019 work, Furness Coastguard said it focused on preventing call outs, which had fallen 10% year-on-year.

Furness Coastguard visited over 2000 local children, Emergency Service day and several carnivals and events throughout the year.

“The team take time our of their day jobs, use annual leave and do this all voluntarily to keep preventing incidents, something which means a lot to the team.”

Here is a summary of  incidents and emergencies attended in 2019:

- Finding and, stabilising and then extricating a casualty who had fallen from the top of the Slag Bank;
- Assisting in helping a casualty from the middle of Walney channel at 4AM one morning;
- Assisted in a speedboat overturning and injuring all three occupants from Walney Channel;
- Extricated a casualty with a broken ankle from Bardsea beach on a fast incoming tide with the tide just metres away and rising fast;
- Formulated a Search plan and found a casualty late at night whose Tender had separated and drifted up the channel;
- Rescued a stranded porpoise from the sands at Humphrey Head;
- Assisted and provided cover to a tractor that had become stuck in Walney Channel.

“These are just a few to name along with dealing with 3 Ordnance, six vessel-related emergencies and five missing person incidents, to name a few,” the coastguard says.

“We will continue to strive to help the community understand the dangers of the coast and how to prevent them getting into danger for 2020, but as always we will be on call 24/7 and always there to help those if things do go wrong.”

Jan 14, 2020