Stranded Hartlepool pair refuse coastguard rescue
Decline to ditch driftwood booty despite rising tide
Two people who were yesterday cut off by the rising tide at the mouth of the River Tees at Hartlepool refused a lifeboat rescue unless the emergency services also agreed to save their shopping trolley full of driftwood.
The Maritime And Coastguard Agency (MCA) explains that at 4:14 pm, Humber Coastguard received a report of a stranded man and woman, and duly dispatched the Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, which in turn called in the Hartlepool Inshore Lifeboat.
The MCA continues: "When the team arrived on scene they could see that the female was wet and cold and suffering from minor hypothermia. The pair had been collecting driftwood in a shopping trolley when they had been cut off by the incoming tide.
"Although the two people were clearly in need of rescue, they refused to be taken into the lifeboat unless the RNLI team agreed to take their collection of wood and tools in the boat with them."
The rescuers, facing "the difficult situation of the woman being in need of urgent medical attention, but it not being practical for the lifeboat to transport a shopping trolley full of wood", were then obliged to call Cleveland Police, who sent in helicopter back-up.
In the event, the lifeboat was "forced to transport the wood in order that the woman’s condition not worsen", as Humber Coastguard Watch Manager put it.
Once ashore, the pair were met by an ambulance crew and police, but "refused medical treatment and left in their own vehicle".
The MCA's restrained report into the matter does contain one hint of the emergency services' opinion of Operation Driftwood, since it notes the cops "seized the wood and threw it in the river". ®
Difficult to know the whole truth from this report. It could be a bunch of people making a big fuss about nothing. Within an hour the tide would have been down by about a metre anyway and they probably could have just walked away. And knowing what today's nanny-state terminology is like, "minor hypothermia" could well be what our parents' generation knew as "a bit chilly".
No law against suicide
Leave them a radio in case they change their mind though, once the first one succumbs to the waves, the other may well see sense.
Reminds me of the joke about the preacher in the flood:
"Oh lord, why did you not save me?"
"I sent 3 boats and a helicopter, what more do you bloody want?"
Sincerely hope they get billed
Lifeboats are paid for by OUR DONATIONS and manned (peopled?) by selfless individuals who risk their lives to help.I would like to think the people who are saved would be just the slightest bit grateful for the risks that strangers take on their behalf (though in practice, most aren't).
The last time I looked into it, many years ago, our local cops reckoned it cost £900 / hour for their helicopter to wake up 10,000 people in the middle of the night - and I suspect it costs much more now. It would be nice to know that at least some of their costs (as well as the lifeboat costs) could be passed on to the induhviduals who exploited the unwillingness of these crews to leave them to their fate.