Humber and Sunderland RNLI crew member involved in rescue in Iceland

Iceland rescue

the crew who were involved in the rescue, from left to right: Stefan Schumacher, RNLI crew member Ben Mitchell and Gerwin Van Sighem.

A Humber and Sunderland RNLI crew member was recently involved in rescuing a yacht that had got into trouble near Reykjavik harbour in Iceland.

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Ben Mitchell, who is a crew member at Humber RNLI and also a volunteer crewman at Sunderland RNLI, was taking part in an exchange programme being run by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), when the rescue occurred on Wednesday 3 October.

The IMRF operates the exchange programme to enable the world’s maritime search and rescue organisations to come together to share their lifesaving knowledge, technologies and experiences.

Ben, three other exchange members and an IMRF instructor were returning from a training exercise in moderate-to-rough seas when they spotted two people aboard a twelve metre sailing yacht waving for help.

They diverted their lifeboat to assist the troubled yacht and on arrival were informed by the two-man crew that their craft had lost power and they were unable to raise the main sail.

Ben and his fellow crew members acted swiftly, setting up a tow to take the yacht into the wind so that her crew could lower the head sail and make it back to Reykjavik harbour.

Ben Mitchell said: ‘It was a real honour to be selected to take part in the exchange programme and it was an invaluable opportunity to be able to share knowledge and skills with people from other rescue organisations from within Europe.
‘I was very happy to be able to assist in an actual rescue whilst in Iceland and although I can’t speak any Icelandic it just proves that teamwork is universal.’

As part of the IMRF exchange, seven lifeboat crew members representing rescue organisations from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Iceland spent a week in Britain at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution headquarters in Poole in early October.

The group took part in a varied training programme which included lifeboat, lifeguard and hovercraft exercises.

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