Porthcawl RNLI volunteer crew were paged by UK Coastguard at 12:49 Sunday 15th January following reports that a female horse rider was injured at Kenfig Sands, Sker Beach. The D class lifeboat, ‘Jean Ryall’, was launched with four crew aboard and soon arrived on scene, 2 miles North West of the station.

Due to the remoteness of the incident the UK Coastguard coordinated a multi-agency rescue plan that included Porthcawl Coastguard Unit conveying a paramedic from a NHS land ambulance across Kenfig Nature Reserve to Sker beach, a Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter being scrambled and the RNLI lifeboat making an approach by sea.

Lifeboat crewman, Chris Page, said, ‘the tide was right out so our helmsman landed us as close to the reported incident area as he could, however we then found that we had to make best speed by foot carrying our first aid kit over half a mile across the beach. We were first on scene and carried out first aid, at the same time a colleague cleared a landing site for the SAR helicopter. The casualty who had been thrown from her horse had some head injuries and was very cold from being temporarily unconscious and laying on the cold wet sand. Once the helicopter had landed on the beach air crew and the NHS paramedic carried out further medical assistance before the casualty was flown direct to the University Hospital Wales, Heath Cardiff’.

Lifeboat Deputy Launch Authority, Aileen Jones MBE, said, ‘People don’t normally associate our lifeboats being launched to land based casualties but as shown today this was the quickest way to reach the casualty and get first aid started.
Today’s rescue was a multi-agency effort where all teams worked together under the UK Coastguard Agency, hopefully the casualty will make a full recovery’.

Image: Marcus Woodbridge