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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 23:55 GMT
Biggest RNLI rescue is remembered
RNLI handout showing SS Suevic grounded on rocks off Cornwall, RNLI/PA Wire photo
It took volunteers 16 hours to rescue all of the people on board
A ceremony will mark the centenary of the biggest rescue in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's history when a liner crashed off Cornwall.

The 12,000 tonne liner SS Suevic was on her way to Southampton when she hit Maenheere Reef, near the Lizard, in dense fog and a strong gale.

RNLI lifeboat volunteers rescued 456 passengers, including 70 babies.

The Lizard lifeboat station is being presented with a special certificate to mark the rescue on 17 March 1907.

They were in open boats and at the mercy of the sea
Peter Greenslade, historian

The rescue was the biggest in the 183-year history of the RNLI.

Volunteer crews from the Lizard, Cadgwith, Coverack and Porthleven rowed out repeatedly for 16 hours to rescue all of the people on board.

Six silver RNLI medals were later awarded, two to SS Suevic crew members.

An RNLI spokesman said: "There has never been a rescue of this magnitude."

RNLI handout showing lifeboat crew and survivors during the rescue, RNLI/PA Wire photo
Six RNLI medals were awarded after the rescue

The commemoration certificate, signed by the RNLI chief executive Andrew Freemantle and chairman Admiral Sir Jock Slater, is to hang in the boathouse.

It will be presented to the Lizard station by Bob Drew and John Moore, descendents of the Cadgwith coxswain Edwin Rutter.

Historian Peter Greenslade, RNLI Honorary Secretary at the Lizard lifeboat station, said they would have been in open boats "at the mercy of the sea".

"It must have been terrifying and yet they went back to the Suevic time and time again.

"I, and the present day RNLI volunteers at the Lizard have nothing but admiration for what they all achieved."


SEE ALSO
RNLI rescues increase in county
21 Feb 07 |  Cornwall
Lifeboat hero tribute 50 years on
08 Nov 06 |  South West Wales

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