Teenage RNLI recruit responds to first shout

Teenager Christi Avril answered her pager to go on her first real rescue with Berwick lifeboat crew on Sunday.

Thursday, 15th February 2018, 11:00 am
Christi Avril, Berwick lifeboat's latest recruit, following her first shout. Picture by Michael Avril

The alarm was raised shortly after 11am when Humber Coastguard received a report of a 60-year-old man who had collapsed in the sand dunes and was unconscious.

Holy Island Coastguard went to Snipe Point, where they located the casualty and provided first aid.

However, medical back-up could not cross the tidal causeway so Berwick’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were called.

Two North East Ambulance Service paramedics were taken on board the all-weather lifeboat with two casualty care trained helmsmen on the inshore lifeboat.

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After being assessed, it was decided that the man would have to be airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance to hospital.

Coastguard officers set up a landing site for the air ambulance and the doctor on board the helicopter assessed the casualty, who was then flown to hospital.

Christi completed her training one month ago for the inshore lifeboat; this was the first shout in which she could go out to sea as part of the inshore lifeboat volunteer rescue team.

She said: “I wish to thank all of the helmsmen who have put me through my paces, it was exhilarating to know that this is what I had been trained to do.

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing I can now answer my pager day or night to be part of a team that saves lives at sea. It was great seeing how all emergency services can work together.”

Waiting at Berwick lifeboat station for the safe return of both lifeboats was Christi’s father, Michael Avril who has served 29 years as ILB helmsman, ALB navigator and is a community safety partner for the RNLI.

He said: “I am so proud that my daughter has followed in my footsteps to become a crew member. Christi is no stranger to the lifeboat station, as part of the lifeboat family she has helped since she was little and raised money for the RNLI to keep our lifeboats afloat and provide training and equipment for our crews to go safely out to sea. It was a heartfelt moment watching her sail back in with the crew to the lifeboat station.”