Heroic rescue of couple and dogs sees Hornsea lifeboat team honoured
AS WAVES crashed over the trapped young couple refusing to abandon their dogs to the fast incoming tide, rescuers risked their own lives in their most dangerous ever mission.
Courageous members of Hornsea Inshore Rescue launched their lifeboat and a jet bike in race against the tide to reach the couple and their two dogs, cut off at the cliffs by 12ft waves.
After taking the boat as close as they dared, several of the crew dived into the rough sea to swim to the terrified couple as waves broke over them.
Using the jet bike to rescue the pair and their dogs, the exhausted crew then formed a human chain to return to the boat themselves.
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The heroic rescue has now earned the team top life-saving honours from the Royal Humane Society. Announcing the awards, society secretary Dick Wilkinson, said: "But for the heroic efforts of the six rescuers there is every likelihood this couple and their dogs could have drowned.
"They richly deserve the awards they are to receive for carrying out what was a complicated and dangerous rescue."
The rescue team – Neville Metcalf, 47, Ashley Evans, 21, Rob Stevenson, 53 and Andrea Gillyon, 35, all from Hornsea, and Harrison Gill, 16, of Roos, and Dave Pick, 30, of Aldbrough – have been awarded Royal Humane Society testimonials on parchment.
Mr Wilkinson said Hornsea Inshore Rescue had been alerted by the coastguard about a young couple, with two dogs, who had been cut off on the cliffs by the exceptionally high incoming tide.
He said: "Mr Evans and Mr Gill launched a jet bike and Mr Metcalf, who was in charge, went in the boat with the other three.
"When the boat was as close as safely possible, Mr Stevenson and Ms Gillyon swam to the base of the cliffs some 20 yards away, followed by Mr Metcalf. "Mr Gill also went to assist.
"The water at the cliffs was knee-deep but conditions were deteriorating and the waves were breaking over the couple."
Submerged rocks were hampering the rescuers efforts, causing them to fall.
Mr Wilkinson said: "The couple were unwilling to leave the dogs but Mr Gill took one dog to the jet bike and was towed to the boat where he remained to control it.
"Mr Metcalf went for the other dog, a Labrador, which proved difficult, but he too was towed to the boat.
"The jet ski was then used to get the man and woman to safety and the crew, who were exhausted, then formed a human chain to reach the boat.
"Incredibly, they suffered only minor injuries but they had risked far worse."
The couple from Doncaster who had refused to leave their dogs, Oscar and Indie, were also uninjured.
They had dialled 999 on a mobile phone to raise the alarm and said the crew had "saved their lives".
The Royal Humane Society say a date has yet to be fixed for the presentation of the awards but it is likely to be in the near future.
The rescue took place on a day of fundraising for Hornsea Inshore Rescue last August.