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Microlight pilot escapes from River Cleddau crash [UPDATED]

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Microlight: Being recovered this morning (Mar 10) (pic. Alastair Pollard)

A MICROLIGHT aircraft crashed into the River Cleddau yesterday evening (Mar 9), however there were no serious injuries as the pilot luckily escaped the aircraft and reached the shore.

Angle RNLI said on their Facebook page: “The ALB launched at 17:54 to reports of a Microlight aircraft that had crashed into the water, off Rudders Boatyard, Burton.

“Also responding to this incident was a local Range Safety vessel, Dyfed-Powys Police, Ambulance, Coastguard Rescue Officers and two leisure craft.

“Whilst arriving on scene, we were informed that the single occupant had swum to the shore adjacent to Burton and transferred to Rudders Boatyard by a local RIB.

“The Y Boat was launched and two crew went ashore to gather more information whilst the paramedics were assessing the casualty. As no assistance was needed ashore, the Y Boat searched the shoreline whilst the ALB searched the main channel for any debris.

“With no sightings, the Y Boat was recovered and the ALB returned to station at 19:20.”

Back on dry land: The aircraft back on the shore (pic. Alastair Pollard)

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Police were called at approximately 5.50pm on Thursday 9th March 2007 to a report of a microlight having entered the River Cleddau in the Burton area of Milford Haven.

“The man had already left the water on police arrival. The AAIB has been informed.”

Alastair Pollard of Rudders Boatyard was involved in the rescue of the pilot.

He told The Herald: “At 5:42pm, Keith Allen who lives by the river at Jenkins Point and has one of the moorings that we maintain for him, called to ask if I had just seen the microlight crash into the Haven, just below the overhead power lines.

“I said that I had not as I was just finishing off some repairs in our boatshed. He explained what had just happened and I said I would immediately launch our inflatable boat and see if I could help the pilot.

“As I made for our boat another customer of ours, Jamie Boha who has a yacht wintered ashore here was standing on the hammerhead, already in contact with the coastguard via his mobile. He said he saw the microlight hit the water and flip over at least once as it went in.

“Miraculously the pilot still looked to be afloat although by now there was no sign of the microlight. While launching our rescue boat from the pontoon I relayed my mobile number to the coastguard so we could keep in touch. Fortunately, I reached the pilot just as he was already pulling himself out the water on the other side of the Milford Haven waterway just opposite our boatyard and moorings.

“Although clearly shaken from the impact, the pilot had the wherewithal to be able to pull one of his gloves off after he went down in order to release his buckle and swim free. The microlight had then started to sink so the pilot had sensibly ditched his aircraft & helmet and made a swim for the shore, albeit in a heavy flying suit with lots of warm but heavy clothing underneath.

Pulled out: The microlight was visible this morning (Mar 10) (pic. Alastair Pollard)

“Fortunately the pilot was clearly a competent swimmer and although he had probably been in the water and swimming for the shore in these cold tidal winter waters for about 15 minutes, he had made it.

“He was just clambering ashore as I reached him, slightly hypothermic & soaked to the skin, but still in good humour and pleased to be alive. It seems the setting sun had blinded him and he had desperately wanted to avoid the power lines. Fortuitously we have just had nice new ‘monsoon showers’ installed at Rudders so I was able to get him aboard and race him back to our boatyard to get him warmed back up.

“In the meantime, I have to say all credit has to go to our Coastguard, Police, RNLI & Port Authority services who really seem to be able to respond well in such a situation. I was fortunate enough to have been alerted by various friends and customers and be right on the spot when all this happened but just as I was bringing the pilot back to warm him up at our place, the coastguard / range vessel arrived, closely followed by a leisure boat that had also presumably responded to a CH16 emergency, the Police Boat and the Port Authority boat – all within literally minutes of one another.

“It was truly reassuring to know what everyone is capable of around here when we truly need them!”

“As the pilot was warming himself back up under the shower, the coastguard, medic,  police, coastguard services, ambulance and relatives all also arrived at Rudders by road.

“Once checked out, warm, dry and wearing some of my clothes I had lent him, the pilot was then taken into the ambulance and then off for further checks at the hospital.”

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it is this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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News

Warrant without bail issued for Milford Haven man who failed to attend court

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A WARRANT without bail has been issued for a Milford Haven man who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Gareth James Mann, 45, of Bunkers Hill was stopped in his VW Golf on October 31, 2020 in Milford Haven.

Mann is accused of driving without a licence, insurance, under the influence of cocaine and whilst in possession of an ounce of cannabis.

Police are now instructed to find Mann, arrest him and bring him before the courts.

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