The operations manager at the Hastings Lifeboat station said the extreme conditions during Sunday’s mission to find a missing surfer were ‘exactly what crews train for’.
The RNLB Richard and Caroline Colton crew were called at about 11.20am on Sunday (February 9) after a concerned member of the public saw a person separated from their board in the rough seas near Rock-a-Nore.
The surfer was found at Rye Bay shortly after 2pm, said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
On Thursday (February 13) Peter Adams, the RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Hastings, played down Sunday’s rescue mission.
He said: “The service crew, and everyone else at Hastings lifeboat station have been overwhelmed at the public’s response to Sunday’s launch, and the many thousands of messages of support we have subsequently received.
“However, to be able to operate in such extreme conditions is exactly what our volunteer crews train for, and is exactly what our boats are built to do.
“At times like this our thoughts go out in gratitude to out many supporters, who through the generosity of their donations, are the people who really keep the RNLI afloat and enable us to continue our work of saving lives at sea.”
The RNLI shared a dramatic video on Twitter which showed the lifeboat launching in huge waves.
The crews who rushed to save the missing surfer have been praised for their work. The RNLI Rye Harbour Lifeboat Station said: “RNLI Rye Harbour lifeboat station have total respect for our volunteer flank station Hastings lifeboat crew who launched in Storm Ciara to go the aid of a surfer in distress. What amazing courage, dedication and selflessness shown by all.”
A number of readers also took to Facebook to praise the rescuers.