In the wake of storm Imogen Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat volunteers were paged at 9.22am today (Tuesday 9 February) following reports of a life raft adrift in the Bristol Channel approximately one mile east of the breakwater.
Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat was launched within minutes to investigate the circumstances of the life raft and to check if there were any persons aboard. Fortunately the craft, although badly damaged by the severe storms, was empty and there were no reports of missing persons.
From enquiries made by Porthcawl Coastguard unit, who were on duty during the incident, it appears that the life raft had been washed off one of the large merchant ships off Port Talbot. Once it entered the water it would automatically inflate and enable any persons in the sea to have some life saving ability.
Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat helmsman Joe Missen put two of his crew aboard the life raft and made it ready to be towed back to the lifeboat station where it was brought ashore and thoroughly checked over.
Joe said: ‘The very nature of its design made it a difficult craft to tow. I was really surprised how the storm had wrecked the canopy and had there been any casualties aboard they would have been fully exposed to the ferousity of storm Imogen.’
Pothcawl RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager Philip Missen MBE said: ‘Reports of this nature are always followed up and this morning fortunately there were no casualties aboard.’