Man rescued from Broad hours after lockdown restrictions eased

PUBLISHED: 13:32 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:13 13 May 2020

Boats on Oulton Broad in 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Boats on Oulton Broad in 2016. PHOTO: Nick Butcher


A “foolish” man was rescued from the water after falling from a dinghy hours after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased.

Emergency services were called to Oulton Broad on Wednesday morning after sailors received the green light to take to the water again.

The man, who took to the water alone in a skipper dinghy, was pulled from the water by two fellow sailors.

Ben Falat, chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, said: “He was doing something on his own and there was no one else on the water.

“He took a gust of wind and capsized, losing key equipment in the water and he was unable to get it righted again.

“He did the right thing in sending the signal for assistance.”

Describing the sailor’s actions, Mr Falat said it was “foolish in what ever circumstances, let alone during Covid”.

“He drags the whole community of competent sailors down by doing what he did,” he said.

“His boat was barely seaworthy, let alone to go on the Broad in gusty conditions.

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Suffolk Fire and Rescue service were called to the scene by HM Coastguard shortly before 11am.

A crew from North Lowestoft and Woodbridge and three from Lowestoft South were mobilised, although a spokesperson for the service confirmed the man was out of the water by the time crews arrived.

Officers from Suffolk Police were also called to the scene after being alerted by the fire service.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We were called to Bridge Road in Oulton Broad shortly after 11am following reports that someone had fallen into the water.

“An ambulance crew attended and assessed a man at the scene but he did not need transporting to hospital.”

The Broads Authority confirmed this week that sailing, paddle boating and privately-owned powered boats can be used on the Broads for day trips, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.

Oweners are not allowed, however, to stay overnight away from their usual homes.

Mr Falat said: “Individual leisure activities can happen again, but organised activities are not, so the yacht club is closed.

“Individual sailors should do their own risk assessments. That said, it would be very wise to make sure there is another boat on the water at the same time.

“Sailing is a naturally distancing activity. If you get too close it is called a collision, and sailors can look out for each other.”

The man was not associated with the Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club.

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