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Radiant Med


On 24th January 1984 at about 10:40hrs French Coastguard informed St Peter Port Radio, that the Liberian freighter Radiant Med had developed a serious list 13 miles North West of Roches Douvres Light house.


Ten minutes later she reported she was now sinking and required immediate assistance. As the lifeboat slipped her moorings and set out at full speed with coxswain Michael Scales in command the wind was north westerly Force 9 .

Sea conditions deteriorated as the lifeboat headed for St Martin’s Point. Breaking crests waves of forty feet in height and gusts up to force 11 with frequent rain squalls. Three of the most experienced crew were severely sea sick and at one point the lifeboat was thrown onto her side completely. A French warship the Casablanca had been standing by the Radiant Med reported survivor in the water but was unable to pick them up due to her size.

A ships lifeboat was discovered floating nearby with survivors on board and the lifeboat came alongside and started recovering the occupants.

Only two were able to help themselves, the others had to be helped out, over or under the rear rails of the lifeboat, one of them seemingly unconscious. Nine men were successfully taken off the ships boat.

The search continued, till around just after 4am. With the arrival of a Sea King helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and concern over the survivor’s conditions, the lifeboat was released and headed back to St Peter Port-arriving at 0613hrs. The survivors were handed over to the care of the St John Ambulance and the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service again.

Fourteen bodies were recovered over the next few days; three men were missing presumed dead. For this service, a bronze medal for gallantry was awarded to Coxswain Michael Scales and the thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum were accorded to the crew.

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