A St ABBS lifeboatman who saved the life of a man trapped in a narrow tunnel on a rising tide, has once more been honoured for his bravery at an annual awards ceremony.
Helmsman Darren Crowe was presented with the Emile Robin Award for an outstanding sea rescue at The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards which recognise the UK’s unsung heroes who risk their lives in dangerous sea and air rescues.
On the morning of June 6, 2011, Darren, along with Alistair Crowe and former crew member James Crowe, launched the inshore lifeboat after the Coastguard was informed that a man had fallen into the sea at St Abbs Head and had been swept into Ty’s Tunnel by the powerful swell where he was clinging to a rock battered and bleeding.
When the crew arrived at the site, they eventually spotted the injured man trapped beyond a narrow fissure in the rocks. The casualty was unresponsive and unable to swim out of the tunnel which could not be accessed by the lifeboat. The gulley is completely submerged at high water and with sea level on the rise the decision was made to swim into the tunnel to recover the man.
Darren took the decision to put Alistair Crowe at the helm so that he could swim in to the tunnel himself. For security a rope was tied to his life jacket and he entered the water for the 20 metre swim.
Fighting against the swell and the weight of the rope, Darren was repeatedly swept into the rocks as he tried to reach the frightened man. He was having to time his entry to the tunnel to avoid the heavy swell. Once at his side, Darren had to coax the man back into the water and then swam to the waiting life boat with the man’s arms gripped around his neck.
Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE RN, said: “Helmsman Darren Crowe showed outstanding professionalism, physical strength, resourcefulness and courage whilst putting his own life at risk in order to save another.
“The Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards is an important event in the maritime calendar and an opportunity to honour those who put themselves at risk every day for seafarers and members of the public. It is extremely impressive to hear the stories of courage and bravery shown by our award winners.”