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Hayling Island RNLI lifeboat rescues 93 year old sailor

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 30 September two sailors launched their boats from the top of Langstone Harbour to go for a sail in a F5 SSW wind.

Old style Gull dinghy in which the casualty capsized.

RNLI/Alan Bartlett

Gull dinghy after recovery.

One was in his Gull dinghy and the other in a Heron dinghy. All went well with the two boats sailing down the harbour and out into Hayling Bay where the choppy sea conditions were quite different.

After sailing across the Bay, they both turned to enter Chichester Harbour where the waves over the Winner Bank caused the Gull to capsize, throwing the 93 year old into the water. The dinghy was rapidly swamped and the man could not get back into it and became very cold. His sailing companion, on the second dinghy, didn't see what happened.

Luckily, after a while in the water, a fishing boat saw the man and his dinghy and went over to stop the dinghy being washed ashore and radioed the Coastguard for help.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat had just been recovered from an earlier rescue and was relaunched immediately. Once on scene it was evident that the sailor had been in the water too long and was suffering hypothermia, so needed to be taken ashore quickly.

RNLI Helm Pete Hanscombe said: ‘The elderly man had been in the water for an unknown length of time and clearly was in distress. He was very glad to be in the lifeboat heading to safety'.

Once ashore the sailor was taken into the care of the station paramedic and shore crew, and an ambulance was called. With careful care the man recovered but was taken to hospital to be checked over. He was discharged later that day and was able to return home.

Back on the scene of the capsize, the crew of the fishing boat was still hanging onto the man's Gull dinghy. The Atlantic 85 returned to try to tow it ashore but found it too full of water and so had to let it be driven by the tide and wind onto the beach.

Once there the crew were able to bail out the dinghy and then tow it to the lifeboat station and it was collected by the man's sailing mate the next day. He expressed their gratitude for a swift reaction to recover his friend and for the expert care he received once ashore.

  • Alan Bartlett, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Hayling Island Lifeboat Station 07749 061220
  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 email
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland