At 9:04pm on Wednesday May 16, HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting a woman in the water in Rock Channel, Rye. She was first seen from Rock Channel Quay where a member of the public threw her a life ring as she was being carried along the river by the current.
Rye Coastguard Rescue Team, Rye RNLI lifeboat and the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd were sent to the scene, alongside East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and the South East Ambulance Service.
At 10:22pm the woman was pulled from the water by members of the public and the RNLI lifeboat crew. Placed in the care of the ambulance service, she was given oxygen and taken to the Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea, suffering from hypothermia.
After recovering, the woman, aged 39, was returned to her home address in Hellingly, near Hailsham, from where she had earlier been reported missing.
RNLI press officer KT Bruce reports:
HM Coastguard requested the assistance of the Rye Harbour RNLI at 9:03pm. The crew was briefed and ready to respond very quickly but because there was no water in the Channel they did not launch the boat, travelling to the scene by road.
Upon arrival at Rock Channel they were joined by members of the Coastguard and Sussex Fire Brigade, including three crews from Crowborough, and the Coastguard helicopter was also brought in to assist. The Police and Ambulance services followed shortly and all the agencies worked closely together.
The casualty was lifted out of the mud and handed over to the ambulance crew.
A week earlier, in a similar, but, it is believed, unrelated incident on May 9, shortly after 4:30pm, a woman was seen by passers-by to be in difficulties in the River Rother near Monkbretton bridge at New Road (A259). Reportedly, a passing cyclist jumped in to attempt a rescue. Meanwhile, emergency services rushed to the scene, including an ambulance, police and two fire appliances. With help from members of the public, she was pulled to safety shortly after 5:15pm.
A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service added: “Ambulance crews were called to reports of a female patient in the river near the A259, New Road, Rye, shortly after 4:30pm on May 9. Ambulance crews including our Hazardous Area Response Team attended the scene alongside fellow emergency services. The teams worked together to rescue the woman who was assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to hospital.”
Source: Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Sussex Police and RNLI.
Photos: Wendy Pook (main) and KT Bruce