Olympic rower is lifeboat's first New Year call

AN unnamed Olympic rower paddling a surfboard off Baggy Point became the first call of the New Year for Appledore lifeboat. The inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.20pm on New Year s Day after reports of a surfer who appeared to be in trouble. Swansea Coas

AN unnamed Olympic rower paddling a surfboard off Baggy Point became the first call of the New Year for Appledore lifeboat.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.20pm on New Year's Day after reports of a surfer who appeared to be in trouble.

Swansea Coastguard reported that Croyde Coastguard had been observing a surfer in the water for some time. He appeared to be in difficulty off Baggy Point in a flooding tide flowing between two to four knots, well off the beach and in an area surfers are not usually found.

Both the inshore lifeboat and an RAF rescue helicopter from Chivenor were asked to help.


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Appledore lifeboat spokeswoman Nikki Tait said: "The helicopter arrived on scene first and while the casualty indicated that he was OK, the lifeboat was requested to continue to the surfer, to confirm this. The 'casualty' turned out to be an Olympic rower carrying out fitness timed trials, paddling his surf board between Putsborough and Croyde and back again. He was in no difficulty, but as it was getting dark and the lifeboat was on scene, they offered him a lift back to Putsborough, which he accepted."

Martin Cox, Coxswain of the Appledore RNLI, said: "Although the man turned out to be in no harm at all, we would much rather turn out for a false alarm and find out that all is well, rather than us not to be called and miss a real emergency."

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The call marked the start of another potentially busy season for the Appledore station

which answered 80 emergency calls in 2009, just three fewer than its record of 83 set just the year before.

Picture: Appledore's inshore lifeboat, the Douglas Paley.

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