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Ramsey Island: Father and daughter in dramatic sea rescue

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TWO KAYAKERS are lucky to be alive thanks to St Davids RNLI after finding themselves in serious danger.

When experienced kayakers Chris Coley and his 18-year-old daughter Molly Basson set off on a kayaking trip around Ramsey Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast on Saturday 14 September, they were reminded of the importance of respecting the water at all times.

The father and daughter were well prepared for the trip having researched the route beforehand and took the correct equipment with them.

However, having set off late morning in glorious sunshine they were soon battling against a roaring current. Chris and Molly decided to stay close to the coastline to prevent being pulled out to sea, but as they attempted to get out of the strong current and through the gaps between the rocks, that’s when they came into trouble.

The front end of Chris’ kayak got caught in the swell and turned him over. He managed to clamber onto the rocks, then panic set in, his daughter’s kayak had turned over too.

Chris said: ‘All I could see was Molly’s overturned kayak, but I couldn’t see her. At that point I was thinking of jumping in before seeing her re-appear. Luckily, Molly’s water sack had anchored her to the kayak. I was trying to stay calm because I didn’t want to worry Molly but I knew we were in trouble.’

Molly described the feeling of when she was in the water: ‘I didn’t realise how long I was under the water until my Dad told me, I was just focused on grabbing hold of my paddle and the kayak. The current felt so strong as it was throwing my body around. A little voice in my head told me to lie on my back and kick my legs. As soon as I did this everything became much easier and I was able to reach the rocks.’

Chris and Molly tried their best to get back in their kayaks but they kept overturning. The water was rising against the rocks, Molly recalled beginning to panic and looking at her Dad to say ‘this isn’t going to work, we have to call someone’.

They were both well prepared and had on them a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch, so dialled 999 and asked for the Coastguard. The volunteer crew from St Davids RNLI were paged and within 20 minutes had launched their all-weather lifeboat and were on scene.

In order to get closer to Chris and Molly, their smaller Y-boat went to collect them. On seeing the lifeboat appear, Molly said: ‘When I saw the lifeboat, I felt my body release and all the worry and panic leave. As I was getting on the boat a huge wave came and moved the boat. I am so grateful to Tom on the crew who grabbed hold of my lifejacket to make sure I didn’t bang my head and suffer any injuries.’

Chris said: ‘I can’t tell you the relief I felt seeing the lifeboat. I am so grateful to all the crew from the RNLI who came to rescue me and my daughter. If we had been on the rocks any longer the situation would have become severe very quickly. I don’t want to think about what might have happened’.

Dai Jones, Coxswain of St Davids RNLI, said: ‘We are so glad that we able to help Chris and Molly when they needed us and that there was a positive outcome.

‘Both of them prepared themselves in exactly the right way, they were wearing the right equipment and had with them a means of calling for help. Without that we would not have known they were trouble or where they were.

‘Our advice for kayakers is to always carry a means of calling for help, and keep it on you at all times when out on the water. This means that if you capsize and get into trouble, you can call for help and increase your chances of survival.’

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby

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A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC

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A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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