Three dead after lifeboat capsizes in Les Sables-d’Olonne
Three lifeboat crewmembers were killed after their vessel capsized and then ran aground on the west coast of France at the height of Storm Miguel on Friday, June 7.
Patron Jacques Morisseau, an 18-metre lifeboat operated by the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) volunteer rescue service, had sailed out of Les Sables-d’Olonne with seven people on board to come to the aid of a distressed fishing boat when it was struck by a large wave shortly after 11:00 local time.
The wave broke the cockpit’s windows, causing water ingress which then led to failure of the lifeboat’s engine.
The vessel then capsized some 800 metres from the coast. It was still upturned when strong swells pushed it to shore and caused it to run aground at around 11:36.
Four of the lifeboat’s crewmembers were able to swim to shore before it ran aground. The remaining three crewmembers are confirmed to have died, the bodies of two of them still on board the lifeboat when it capsized.
Meanwhile, the fishing boat that the SNSM crew had attempted to rescue also sank as a result of the rough weather. The captain of this vessel has been reported as missing.