BRAVE lifeboat volunteers raised a glass to the boat that saved their lives – exactly 20 years to the minute of a frightening incident at sea.
Tom Price and Robbie Maiden, members of Hartlepool RNLI, were both aboard The Scout lifeboat which capsized twice after being called out in treacherous seas on February 28, 1993.
Robbie, now 45 and coxswain of Hartlepool RNLI, was thrown overboard and left fighting for breath for half an hour before he was rescued by helicopter, sparking a huge cheer from his fellow crew members.
And last night at 6.28pm, the exact minute the boat was hit by the rogue wave 20 years ago, Tom and Robbie joined current lifeboat members in a toast to mark the anniversary.
Tom, 67, who is now Hartlepool RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “We toasted the boat that saved our lives and we toasted Robbie for surviving.
Tom and Robbie are the only crew members from the incident who are still involved with Hartlepool RNLI. But all of the crew members aboard The Scout 20 years ago will now receive a glass engraved with their names.
Tom, a dad-of-one and retired warehouse superintendent who lives in the Rossmere area of Hartlepool with his wife, Pauline, 67, has been on countless call-outs since the incident in 1993, but he says he has never come close to the fear he felt on that day.
The Scout was standing by the tanker, Freja Svea, which had ran aground in bad weather off Redcar when it was hit by the monster wave.
“I just remember hearing this massive roar, I have never heard anything like it,” said Tom.
“And then the wave hit us and it went from being so loud to being very quiet.
“That’s the point we lost Robert and we spent 25 minutes searching for him.
“I remember us all cheering when we found out the helicopter had rescued him.”
l Mail view: Page 8
After 20 years service The Scout was sold to the Uruguay lifeboat service, where she currently remains.