Sea rescues show islands at their best
Wednesday 18th September 2013, 4:00PM BST.
SARK has become synonymous in recent years as much for its divisions as its sense of community yet this week’s tale of a dramatic sea rescue shows the island at its best.
Stranded on rocks after their boat was swamped by waves the two boaters’ first thought was to call the emergency services for help, their second was to call their friends.
These were the kind of friends everyone should have. Rather than listen sympathetically and wait anxiously for the lifeboat, Flying Christine and Sark fire brigade to start searching, they went straight into action. Within minutes, people were careering down harbour hill on their bikes before putting to sea.
It was rough, cold and dark but, to their credit, the flotilla of searchers did not stop to think of themselves and their safety. Instead, they used local knowledge to calmly judge where the stricken boat might be.
Thankfully, as with all Boys’ Own tales, there was a happy ending and all four were rescued through the combined efforts of everyone from the Brecqhou manager and his wife to the emergency services, a PEH physiotherapist and her friends.
It was a heart-warming tale and one of which Sark can be very proud.
Equally cheering – and to show that courageous people are not in short supply in the Bailiwick – was a report of a diving instructor who rescued a young boy from drowning on the same weekend.
Once again, rather than sit back and wait for the authorities to arrive, the 56-year-old man grabbed a lifebuoy and jumped into the rough waters off Havelet slipway.
As the teenagers had learned to their cost, the sea there can be dangerous but, with help from the Guernsey Yacht Club, the boy was eventually brought ashore.
Two uplifting tales, both of people with more consideration for others than themselves, people who preferred to act rather than leave everything to the authorities.
If a community is defined by it actions then it is clear that, far from being in despair, the islands have every reason to be thankful – and proud.