Fishing Boat Survivor Rescued by Lyme Regis RNLI Crew

‘I thought I might miss Christmas’- fishing boat survivor rescued by Lyme Regis RNLI crew.

Four male RNLI crew members dressed in yellow rescue clothing stand around a middle ages man with the sea in the background.

Photo: RNLI

Brian Harding with the crew members who rescued him (left to right)Tom Crabbe Rich Tilley, Tim Edwards and Andy Butterfield.

A 72 year old angler with a broken leg has told for the first time how he survived when a fishing boat capsized and he floated on his back, without a lifejacket,  for at least 40 minutes. 

Brian Harding, from Chard, was rescued by the volunteer crew of the Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat after the 15ft fishing vessel was overwhelmed by a wave near the mouth of the River Axe at Axmouth.

The incident last month (Nov 14) sparked a rescue operation involving two lifeboats, coastguards ashore and the coastguard helicopter.

Mr. Harding said: “I was so lucky to be found by the lifeboat crew when I was. Another 20 minutes and it could so easily have been a very different story.
“I began to think I might miss Christmas. It really was one of those days when I thought I should have stayed in bed.”

Mr. Harding, whose leg was in plaster after an accident at home, was airlifted from the lifeboat and taken to hospital in Dorchester. He was discharged after a few hours.

He visited the Lyme Regis lifeboat crew yesterday (Sunday) to thank them and to make a donation.

Mr. Harding added:  “I felt I had to meet the guys who rescued me so that I could put the issue to bed and  recognise what these volunteers do out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Three men were aboard the boat when it capsized. The other two men involved preferred not to comment.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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