Latest News


April 4 2014

Newhaven’s Severn Class lifeboat RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland’s volunteer crew were paged this morning, April 4th at 00:46 to reports of a suicidal female on Newhaven Swing Bridge.

Newhaven’s all-weather lifeboat quickly launched and proceeded to the reported position. The inflatable Y boat was made ready for launch and two crew stood by in dry suits. Once on scene the lifeboat was immediately requested to hold a position close to the spine and platform at the south west corner of the structure. The lifeboat was assisted by two HM Coastguard rescue swimmers positioned on the river bank.

A lifeboat crew member joined the casualty on the platform and slowly gained her confidence moving closer and closer to the casualty. Once near enough the crew member grabbed the casualty and was then supported by two further lifeboat crew members.

The lifeboat then manoeuvred into position to recover the crew and casualty whilst stemming the fast incoming spring tides. The casualty and crew were safely transferred onto the lifeboat despite the fast moving current through the narrows of the bridge.

The impact of the large tide being pushed through a smaller channel significantly increases the water flow. The lifeboat sustained some damage to rails but no one was injured.

The lifeboat then returned to station where Coastguard, Police and an Ambulance were waiting. The casualty was handed over to the South East Coast Ambulance Service and the lifeboat was ready for service at 01:50.

Newhaven RNLI Coxswain Paul Legendre said: “Due to the height of tide and urgency of the situation, the main lifeboat was the only option to enable us to get crew onto the structure and recover the casualty. There was a significant risk that should the casualty have entered the water she would have been quickly taken by the fast-moving tidal currents. Although the lifeboat sustained some cosmetic damage during the service I have no doubt that this young woman’s life was saved; a testament to the amazing teamwork by our crew.”