Hunsanton’s new lifeboat rescues canoeist

Hunstanton's new lifeboat the Spirit of West Norfolk made its first rescue on Saturday when a canoeist got into serious trouble.

The crew had to cope with a force six wind just before high water when the message was received that the canoe had capsized quarter of a mile from Heacham's South Beach.

The man was described as being 'in a near state of collapse' when the lifeboat reached him.

'He was hanging onto his capsized canoe and frantically waving to attract attention,' said spokesman Geoff Needham.

The casualty was taken to the beach where a paramedic and the Coastguard were waiting to help him. The 47-year-old man from Luton was staying in the village.

The lifeboat crew returned to the sea to recover his canoe and bring it back to the boathouse.

'The rapid response to this incident undoubtably prevented what could have been a loss of life,' said Mr Needham.

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The new state-of-the art Atlantic 85 boat was delivered to Hunstanton in March and the �125,000 cost was met from local fundraising efforts and donations.

The new boat is bigger and faster than the previous Atlantic 75 which has gone to Poole, Dorset - home of the RNLI's training centre.

The lifeboat house had to be extended to accommodate the new boat which is nearly a metre longer than its predecessor.

The Atlantic 85 has radar search-and-rescue equipment, a self-righting mechanism, more space for casualties and crew and is capable of being beached in an emergency without causing damage to the engines and steering gear.

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