Wells lifeboat was launched yesterday (Thursday) after one of the worst gales of the year hit the north Norfolk coast.

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A crew of seven RNLI volunteers and coxswain Allen Frary helped six fishing boats and eight wind farm support vessels to safety between 3.55pm and 4.50pm.

Mr Frary said the all-weather lifeboat was launched as a precaution after the weather deteriorated rapidly and winds increased to gale force eight.

He added: “The wind out at sea was pretty horrendous.”

Chris Hardy, operations manager of the Wells lifeboat, said: “The seas were extremely rough over the bar with breaking waves over six feet high. If anything had gone wrong or someone went overboard, the lifeboat being out there would greatly increase their chances of survival.”

No-one was injured and all the boats arrived safely at Wells harbour.

Mr Frary said the 17-metre support boats for the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm originally travelled towards Great Yarmouth for shelter, but were told to return to Wells.

These vessels had been used to transport engineers to the wind farm that day, but no-one was injured in the treacherous weather conditions..

Mr Frary added: “We have had gales before, but this was over and above what was predicted for the day. The forecasting caught everybody out. The gale was predicted to increase, but not to the severity that it did.”

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