Rescue drama in the storm

Last week's rescue operation underway
Last week's rescue operation underway

Lifeboats fought their way through treacherous seas as they set out to rescue fishermen in distress during one of the worst storms of the year.

The brave crew of Bridlington RNLI’s Marine Engineer battled wind speeds of up to 46mph following an urgent plea for help from two vessels.

They were responding to a distress call from 15-metre Genesis Enigma and its crew of seven, which had suffered a loss of power resulting from its propeller being fouled by a rope.

Andy Brompton, of Bridlington RNLI said the beleaguered vessel’s sister ship had attempted to tow the stricken vessel 70 miles back to Bridlington.

He addedsaid: “As luck would have it, the Genesis Rose was at hand to help.

“As the two boats made their way slowly back to Bridlington the skipper of the Genesis Rose asked the Humber Coastguards if the lifeboat could stand by as they entered the harbour.”

Under the command of coxswain Stuart Tibbett and a crew of six, Marine Engineer launched to assist the 70-ton Genesis Enigma and Genesis Rose.

Upon meeting the fishermen, the lifeboat crew arranged to make a rope fast from the Marine Engineer to the stricken vessel’s stern, whilst the Genesis Rose continued the tow.

However it wasn’t long before the rescue operation found itself once more at the mercy of Storm Abigail.l once more.

“The wind and seas pushed all three boats towards the hharbour’s Nnorth Ppier and this first attempt was unsuccessful,” Andy continued.

“Returning back out to sea, the three boats prepared to make a second attempt and as they got closer to the harbour, the lifeboat crew fired a total of eight flares to light the way.”

But the rope between the lifeboat and Enigma snapped under the strain, causing both boats to clash with the harbour walls.

An anxious few moments unfolded for onlookers as the skipper of Genesis Rose pulled the Enigma further into the harbour - almost to within touching distance of those watching on from the pier. Coxswain Tibbett with his crew managed to assist the Enigma to a safe berth.

Once it was safe to do so Coxswain Tibbett asked two of his crew to look after a crew member from the Enigma who was suffering with breathing problems and oxygen was administered and an ambulance requested.

Speaking to the Free Press, Coxswain Tibbett said: “I couldn’t ask any more from my crew working on the deck of a lifeboat in those conditions is not easy but they never faulted.

“I would like to praise the skipper of the Genesis Rose - he deserves a pat on the back for his part.

“We have also received thanks from the skipper’s family for all our efforts which I have passed on to my crew”.