It had to happen. We know social media is taking an ever more important place in world communications, being the driving factor in everything from demonstrations to revolutions to gang-buster parties. But now we have a first for the marine world. Believe it or not, a sailor has been rescued after using Facebook to call for rescue.
A report from the Royal National Lifeboat Insititution (RNLI) tells how a British teenager, stranded after his boat capsized, was lucky to be found by Fowey lifeboat crew as he tried to swim to safety late one night this week.
The teenager's boat had capsized and dismasted, throwing him into the sea. With his telephone affected by the water and only allowing him to post on Facebook, the sailor posted a message to say he was stranded.
The Coastguard asked Fowey lifeboats to launch just after 11pm. With the all-weather lifeboat searching the area towards Portmellon, the crew on the inshore lifeboat headed out to search towards Pentewan.
Christian Phelps, volunteer crew member onboard Fowey inshore lifeboat said: 'We were searching the area when our search light picked up what we thought was a lobster pot marker. When we looked again, it started waving and we realised it was the young lad. He was incredibly lucky that we found him and we're delighted that we were in the right place at the right time and that this rescue had a happy outcome.'
The young sailor said he'd been treading water for about 2 hours.
The volunteers on the inshore lifeboat hauled the sailor on board before transferring him to the all-weather lifeboat, which took him back to the station. Christian continued: 'We'd advise anyone heading out to sea to take some simple safety steps; carry a means to call for help, wear a lifejacket, tell someone where you're going and check the weather and tides.'
About the RNLI:
Facebook HELP - no this is NOT what it's for - .. .
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the British charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree.