At 10.30am today (June 13) RNLI volunteers and staff across the UK and Ireland joined the French community in remembering the three Les Sauveteurs en Mer – SNSM rescue crew members who tragically lost their lives last week.
The French President Emmanuel Macron attended a gathering at Les Sables-d’Olonne, the location where the rescue boat capsized. A minute’s silence was held, followed by the maritime community sounding its foghorns around the French coast.
In solidarity, Thanet lifeboat stations and lifeguard units lowered their flags to half-mast as a mark of respect and at the RNLI Support Centre in Poole staff members, led by community lifesaving director John Payne, observed the silence at the RNLI Memorial Sculpture.
RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said: ‘The news of this tragedy has been a shock to all of us in the lifesaving family and is a reminder of just how dangerous the sea can be. Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with all of those involved and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our French lifesaving colleagues.’
The three crew members were onboard a rescue boat that had gone to the aid of a fishing vessel, which had got into difficulty in winds of up to 80mph during Storm Miguel. Tragically, the rescue boat succumbed to the conditions and was capsized. Four of their fellow crew members managed to make it to shore. Sadly, the fisherman they were trying rescue is also missing.