Mystery of empty boat at Lands End solved after urgent rescue operation

Land's End looking towards Sennen on the South West Coast Path
Land's End looking towards Sennen on the South West Coast Path -Credit:Dean Feast

The mystery of an empty boat found floating off the Cornish coast was solved after an urgent rescue operation. Members of the National Coastwatch Institution at Cape Cornwall had been monitoring the rigid inflatable boat drifting and could not spot any people on board.

RNLI crew at Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station were sent to investigate reports of a RIB drifting off Lands End at 9.13am on Monday morning (May 6). The Tamar class all-weather lifeboat City of London III launched soon after under the command of Coxswain Ollie George with a total of six RNLI volunteer crew.

The lifeboat located the RIB near the Longships Lighthouse and confirmed that the boat was unoccupied. A crew member was transferred to make further investigations.

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The lifeboat crew were able to check the boat’s plotter and establish its previous course. They discovered the boat had come from France and had reached Pendeen Lighthouse before doing a U-turn and drifting back towards Lands End.

As a result, there were concerns somebody may have left the vessel where it altered course and possibly fallen overboard. Jason Woodward and three crew members launched from the station at 9.50am to help with the search.

The crew searched the Pendeen area where the RIB had changed course to search for any people who may have fallen off the small boat. Information was relayed to the French Coastguard to carry out further enquiries about the owner of the RIB.

According to Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station, the French Coastguard confirmed the owner of the RIB had actually been rescued in French waters the previous day after falling overboard but the RIB wasn’t recovered. The RIB had drifted out to sea and eventually ended up off Lands End.

A spokesman for Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station added: "With this updated information confirming that nobody was in distress, the inshore lifeboat was stood down from its search to return to Sennen Cove.

"The RNLI volunteers aboard the all-weather lifeboat attached a tow to the RIB and towed it to the safety of Sennen Cove Harbour. Both lifeboats returned to Sennen Cove and were recovered around 11.50am and made ready for their next service."

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