A video has circulated showing the Hastings lifeboat crew battling huge waves as they attempt to save a missing surfer during Storm Ciara.
Rescue crews were called at about 11.20am on Sunday (February 9) after a concerned member of the public had seen a person surfing who had become separated from their surfboard in the rough seas near Rock-a-Nore.
The surfer was found at Rye Bay shortly after 2pm, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The Hastings Coastguard Rescue Team said arrived on scene and requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat from RNLI Hastings Lifeboat Station and assistance from flank stations HM Coastguard Bexhill and HM Coastguard Rye Bay, as well as East Sussex Fire and Rescue and Sussex Police.
A spokesman for Hastings Coastguard said: “Due to the rough sea conditions and poor visibility the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was also tasked and our Area Commander attended.
“Following a multi agency search over a very large search area (between Hastings and Rye) the missing person was found alive and well, albeit somewhat cold.
“Casualty care was given by Coastguard Rescue Officers before the casualty was transported by the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter to hospital, and all assets were then stood down and returned to their respective stations.
“A fantastic result especially given the horrendous conditions.”
On Twitter, the Hastings Lifeboat responded to the viral video, saying they were all ‘safe, well and uninjured’ and the boat was undamaged.
The RNLI shared the video on Twitter, adding: “Incredible @Hastingsrnli footage captured today by a member of public. Everyone onboard is safe and well. Casualty made it to shore. Thanks to your support our lifeboat crew receive the best training and lifeboats, to withstand these types of conditions.”
The emergency 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. Be safe.
“Alongside co-ordinating and supporting were HM Coastguard’s helicopter and Rye Bay and Hastings CRT (Coastguard Rescue Team). All heroes.”
A number of Hastings Observer readers took to Facebook to praise the rescuers.
Sylvia Hall said: “True heroes. Massive well done for putting your lives in danger. Thank God you’re all home safe.”
A spokesman for the Coastguard added: “At 11.20am yesterday (February 9) HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a concerned member of the public reporting a surfer in difficulties in the water at Hastings.
“The Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) from Hastings was already on the scene preparing for a safety patrol and CRT colleagues from Bexhill and Rye Bay were also sent to assist together with the RNLI lifeboat from Hastings.
“The person self-recovered to the beach at Winchelsea and was airlifted to hospital by the search and rescue helicopter from Lydd.”