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Surviving the Storms: New book showcases incredible rescues by RNLI lifesavers


By David Porter

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A new book provides a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around the UK and Ireland over the past 20 years.

Surviving the Storm.
Surviving the Storm.

Surviving the Storms recounts 11 of the charity’s most remarkable rescues from the last two decades.

These are stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI’s lifesavers have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.

From volunteer lifeboat crew members in Scotland rescuing those on board a sinking ship, to lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people just moments away from drowning, this book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.

The new book is now on sale with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

RNLI chief executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer.

"We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives.

"Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’

The book features a rescue from Lerwick RNLI back in 2017 and the story of RNLI volunteer Darren Harcus who answered the call to help that morning, not realising it was to save the lives of his friends and colleagues aboard the vessel on which he worked.

23 miles off Lerwick, the Ocean Way was taking on water at an uncontrollable pace.

Knowing the boat and her crew best, Darren was transferred across with two pumps to try and stem the flow of water.

It was soon apparent to Darren that the water was flooding in quicker than they could cope with.

Faced with the unthinkable, Darren instructed all to abandon ship.

Looking back at how quickly events unfolded that morning, Darren said: "I had worked on the Ocean Way for five years and it’s a family business.

"It’s a small community and we all have each other’s backs.

"Abandon Ship was one of the hardest instructions I’ve ever had to give.

"We planned to step off onto the lifeboat but there wasn’t time to get everyone off like that.

"So we jumped - starboard side.

"As the trawler crew, we had already talked about what we’d do in this sort of situation but never really thought it would happen to us.’

Darren is very proud to see his story told as part of this book and is excited to read the tales of fellow RNLI volunteers who feature.

Darren said: ‘I am immensely proud that this story will feature in ‘Surviving the Storms’. It is an honour, not only for me, but for the crew with me that day to be a part of RNLI history in this way.’

The book, which has a recommended retail price (RRP) of £14.99, is available to buy now.

As well as being available to order online from Amazon and Waterstones, the book is also due to be stocked at supermarkets across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stores, as well as independent book shops and Waterstones stores.

It is also available on Kindle, Apple Books and as an audio book.

To order a copy of Surviving the Storms visit https://books.harpercollins.co.uk/surviving-the-storms/


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