RNLI crew saves life of jet skier in new series of Saving Lives at Sea

Volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will feature in the new series of popular TV show Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two in which they save the life of an unconscious jet skier, among other rescues. 

Featuring footage captured on helmet and boat cameras, viewers watch dramatic rescues through the eyes of RNLI lifesavers while meeting the people behind the pagers and those rescued by the charity’s lifesavers.

RNLI Calshot volunteer crew member, Kelley Leonard said: ‘We were paged on a hot June day last year and were told it was an immediate launch, which means a life is in danger. 

‘On the way to the scene – just metres from the lifeboat station – we came across a police boat and an independent lifeboat who were already on the water at the time of the accident and had the casualty on board.’ 

Volunteer RNLI crew member and full-time paramedic Andy Headley was transferred to the independent Solent Lifeboat to assist and provide oxygen to the casualty, a young man.

Andy said: ‘He was unconscious and breathing – but barely, and not responsive. He was lifeless. Then he stopped breathing and I couldn’t feel a pulse anymore, so we got him on the beach as quickly as possible and Kelley started CPR.’ 

Kelley said: ‘All I was thinking was that this is someone’s son, and we need to make sure we get him back to the family alive. It was touch and go and I wondered if we were too late but then we got his pulse back. I was so relieved.’ 

With the casualty’s breathing and heartbeat stabilised, the crew monitored his condition and awaited the ambulance, which then transferred him to hospital.

Kelley said: ‘To think that we gave this young lad a second chance is incredible; that’s the reason we go out and train so we can save lives like his. He was very lucky that day.’ 

The popular 10-part documentary is now in its eighth series and includes the lifesaving work of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around the UK and Ireland.

The rescue will feature in the first episode of the series on Thursday 28 September at 8pm on BBC Two and will also be available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast.

Including many other interviews with lifeboat crews from across the UK and Ireland, the series also hears from the rescuees and their families who, thanks to RNLI lifesavers, are here to tell the tale.

Andy said: ‘Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.’ 

In 2022, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland launched 9,312 times, saving 389 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards saved 117 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

If you get inspired to volunteer with the RNLI by the series, there are a variety of roles from lifeboat crew, to fundraiser, lifeguard to shop volunteer. Fund out more at rnli.org/volunteer 

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