THE volunteer search and rescue charity that patrols the Severn Estuary has had a busy start to their summer – being called out seven times in one month.

The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), have a base on Beachley and Newport.

It’s staffed by volunteers who give up their free time to rescue people on land and sea, and is the largest independent lifeboat service in the UK – second only to the RNLI.

Their busy summer started on Monday, June 3, when the Beachley Land Search Team were called to assist Gloucestershire Constabulary who were searching for a missing man near Slimbridge.

The man was spotted by a police helicopter, and one SARA Casualty Carer was dispatched on foot to aid him. The team evacuated him by stretcher and handed him over to an NHS ambulance and family members.

On Friday, June 7, the lifeboat crew were tasked to reports of a vessel in distress between Chepstow and Avonmouth, which capsized throwing its occupant into the water.

Three SARA lifeboats conducted searches with 2 RNLI boats and the Coastguard helicopter. It was discovered that the casualty had managed to self-rescue to shore at Avonmouth.


Following this, the rescue helicopter landed to assess him and transfer him to hospital.

On Friday, June 21, there were two false alarms for the Beachley Lifeboat Crew. The Coastguard received a report of a drifting vessel under the M48 Severn Bridge. SARA Lifeboat 1 was launched and conducted a search. The Chepstow Coastguard also investigated boats known to have been in the area, and it was then concluded that this had been a false alarm with good intentions.

Later that afternoon, SARA Lifeboat 3 was launched to support Gwent Police and Chepstow Coastguard with investigating a suspicious object on the mud banks of the River Wye.

Crew were able to check the object, and a second one requested by the Coastguard, neither was of any significance, so the crew returned to Beachley.

On Thursday, June 27, Land Search teams from across SARA were called out to search for a missing elderly man in the Dursley Area. The person was eventually found by police, and SARA helped with extraction and treatment.

In the early hours of Saturday, June 29, search teams were called out to search for a missing lady in the Gloucestershire village of Meysey Hampton.

The lady, who had been missing since late the previous evening, was located by one of the SARA teams and attended to by two casualty carers until the arrival of an NHS ambulance.

Shortly before 11.00pm on Wednesday, July 3, the Newport Lifeboat Crew were called out to assist South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, with someone threatening to jump from George Street Bridge in Newport City Centre. Newport’s lifeboat ‘Maureen Easton’ launched, as well as Beachley’s low water boat ‘Rescue 5’ due to the tide.

The patient was safely recovered to land.

More recently, SARA were called out to assist as a man was talked down from the M48 Severn Bridge on Saturday, July 20.

They were also involved in the search of a man in the Severn estuary yesterday.