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RNLI Dungeness lifeboat volunteers help rescue plane crash pilot in English Channel

The volunteer crew of Dungeness Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – the charity that saves lives at sea – all-weather lifeboat launched at approximately 1455 hours this afternoon (Sunday 28 June 2009) to go to the aid of an air-craft pilot whose plane had crashed into the English Channel.

The pilot of the plane ditched his small aircraft into the sea approximately four miles south west of Dungeness Point. The pilot was subsequently spotted by a passing commercial vessel, which helped rescue the pilot from the English Channel. The RNLI's Dungeness Mersey class all-weather lifeboat then manoeuvred alongside the vessel and recovered the pilot safely onboard, where his medical condition was assessed and it was decided he should be airlifted to hospital.

Deputy Second Coxswain of Dungeness all-weather lifeboat, who was in charge of the lifeboat at the time of rescue, says:

'Although the pilot was not badly hurt he was experiencing symptoms of shock and it was decided that he should be taken immediately to the nearest hospital. A rescue helicopter airlifted the pilot from the RNLI lifeboat and took him to hospital in Ashford, Kent. The pilot was really lucky that he was rescued so quickly from the English Channel. If this incident had happened at night, there might have been a very different ending to this rescue.'