Dylan Alkins: Lifeboat man awarded over missing boy search

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Media captionThe BBC's Natalie Graham reports during the search for Dylan Alkins

The coxswain of a lifeboat who helped in the search for a 14-year-old boy who was swept out to sea is to receive one of the RNLI's highest accolades.

Paul Legendre led the volunteer crew of the RNLI's Newhaven lifeboat in the search for Dylan Alkins who went missing on 27 October.

Dylan had been swimming with friends off Newhaven's West Beach when he was swept away.

The lifeboat was damaged by the force-10 storm during the six-hour search.

Dylan has not been found.

Mr Legendre will be presented with the RNLI's Thanks of the Institution on Vellum award.

Boat damaged

George Rawlinson, RNLI operations director, said: "To launch into such atrocious conditions with darkness approaching takes great skill and courage.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Dylan was swept out to sea before storms hit the south coast in October

"The seamanship Paul displayed during this service was second to none and the concentration required to hold the lifeboat in position in shallow waters and breaking waves was intense."

The lifeboat, with the seven volunteer crew members, was launched at about 16:45 GMT on 27 October.

Mr Legendre steered the lifeboat as close to the western breakwater as possible, in the storm-force 10 winds, the RNLI said.

Large waves were breaking over the lifeboat, pushing water into the engine room, and knocking the crew members, who were attached with safety lines, off their feet.

One lifeboat crew member suffered bruising and the boat itself was damaged by large waves during the operation.

The Newhaven lifeboat was joined by a coastguard rescue helicopter, and search teams from Newhaven, Birling Gap and Shoreham.

A spokesman for the RNLI said the date of the awards ceremony, which is to be held in London, is yet to be fixed.

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