The head of a lifeboat crew that saved a fishing boat from hitting the rocks in perilous conditions has given a first-hand account of the rescue in a gripping new video.
Patrick Davidson has been involved with the RNLI for more than 20 years but only became coxswain in December.
On Friday, he took command of his first rescue – saving five people from a fishing vessel that had got into trouble off the coast of Peterhead in huge, choppy waves and wind.
The 160-tonne boat had been taken under tow by a nearby fishing boat, however, due to the strong swell, the tow line broke numerous times.
Now Mr Davidson has revealed the challenges involved in taking over – and described the conditions as being like “a washing machine in the corner”.
Admitting it had been hard to even get the lifeboat out the harbour, he said: “We heard communication on the radio from the sipper and knew from the tone of his voice that things were getting desperate.
“We saw the boat a quarter of a mile in front of us and actually thought she was on the rocks at that point, it looked very close. I immediately requested that the helicopter be launched because I really didn’t think we were going to be able to get a line on her.
“If we didn’t get the rope on in our first attempt, we wouldn’t get a second – it was as straightforward as that.”
Luckily, the crew succeeded and within eight or nine minutes the boat was ready to be towed back to the harbour. But with the powerful swell, Mr Davidson also had to worry about the safety of his own crew as he put the boat into full power.
He added: “It was almost taking the full power of the engines just to stop us from going astern.
“It’s not until after you look back, sit and think about it and go, ‘Wow, that was close. Don’t want to be in that situation again’.”
After RNLI crew towed the boat back into the bay, three tugs took over and it was taken back to the harbour safely within an hour.
Rush of donations
Since video footage of Friday’s daring rescue emerged, donations have flooded in for the charity – with more than £3,200 raised.
Mr Davidson said it gave the crew a “bit of pride” and thanked all those who were supporting the charity’s life-saving work.
Jurgen Wahle, lifeboat operations manager at Peterhead RNLI, said: “The amount of support we have received and what the crew have achieved through bravery, dedication and teamwork is absolutely extraordinary.
“We are still a charity, so we do rely on donations and to see such a huge amount raised through our social media posts has been really fantastic to see.
“It shows how much our local community club together and it is so appreciated.”