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Stroke victim rescued from fort in the Solent by Lifeboat crew
6:24pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
Lifeboat crew members had to improvise a method using ropes and a stretcher to rescue a casualty who had suffered a stroke while working on a sea fort.
The 60-year-old construction worker became incapacitated while working on the No Man's Land Fort in the Solent, off the Isle of Wight in the early hours of Tuesday.
The Bembridge volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew attended the island fort, which is being converted into a luxury hotel, and were faced with the difficult task of evacuating the patient.
A RNLI spokesman said: ''With no obvious method to transfer the casualty down onto the lifeboat, the coxswain had to apply creative thinking and resorted to some rather unorthodox method using ropes, a hook and a plastic stretcher.''
Coxswain Steve Simmonds said: ''We assumed it would just be a straightforward evacuation and had no idea how complicated it would be.
''The only access to the fort is up a vertical 15ft ladder, on to a gantry, up a ramp onto a boarding platform, which is traditionally used to hoist Ribs from the water.
''The obvious solution was to use the hoist to lower the man on to the lifeboat but that had broken just the day before.
''There was no way he could have climbed down the ladder in his state - the only way he was coming off the fort was in a stretcher.
''We found ourselves with the challenge of coming up with a plan to get him safely from the fort onto the lifeboat.
''My crew are a pretty resourceful bunch though and we came up with the idea of improvising a block and tackle-style setup, using ropes we had on board the lifeboat.''
The man was then lowered on to the deck of the lifeboat where he was taken to shore at Portsmouth and onward to hospital by ambulance.
Mike Samuelson, lifeboat operations manager at Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat Station, said: ''Lifeboat crews are trained to adapt to various situations, but this has to rank as one of the most challenging for Bembridge in recent times.
''Fortunately, with a bit of creative thinking and dash of scientific knowledge, our crew came up with a way to safely and securely get the chap off the fort.
''Considering our volunteers had jumped out of bed and did this in the dark, at 1am in the morning, it's fair to say I am hugely proud of them for this rescue.''