‘They were extremely lucky’ – lifeboat coxswain reacts to major rescue operation in Lowestoft

Coastguard officers helping with the tow of the stricken boat. PICTURE: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and

Coastguard officers helping with the tow of the stricken boat. PICTURE: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold - Credit: Archant

The Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat coxswain has said 'the outcome could have been a lot different' after four men were rescued from a capsized boat.

Coastguard officers on the beach at Pakefield after a boat capsized.

Coastguard officers on the beach at Pakefield after a boat capsized. - Credit: Archant

The lifeboat, with coxswain John Fox at the helm, was launched just before 3pm on Thursday afternoon and headed straight to the scene of the emergency – about 100 yards offshore near Pakefield Church.

At the same time, the Lowestoft RNLI lifeguards were also alerted and ran a mile from their base on the South Beach along the shoreline to the incident.

Mr Fox said: 'As we approached the scene we could see four men sitting on an upturned boat.

'A fifth man was waving at us from the shore.


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'We manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside the boat and the volunteer crew assisted the four men to climb on board.

'I then took the lifeboat close inshore and picked up the fifth man – as well as the two RNLI lifeguards to help us with the recovery of the capsized boat.'

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One of the men on board the 12 foot dory style vessel, which was taking on water after being hit by a wave, managed to swim ashore to raise the alarm – resulting in a major rescue operation.

It also involved five Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard rescue team members.

Mr Fox was quick to praise the teamwork of the emergency response teams but claimed things could have been a lot worse.

'When you hear that five people are in the water, especially with events last weekend at Sea Palling and on the south coast, you do get a bit concerned,' Mr Fox added.

'Our priorities were to get the men on board our boat as quickly and as safely as we could – they were pleased to see us and were fairly calm.

'They were extremely lucky – the outcome could have been a lot different.

'It also proves that we work well with lifeguards and coastguard teams.'

The casualties, who were all wearing buoyancy aids, were given warm clothing as they were taken to the lifeboat station but did not need any medical attention on arrival.

A line was attached to the hull of the stricken boat and it was then passed to members of the coastguard rescue unit on the beach who were assisted by a tractor from Waveney Norse.

Andy Sutherland, station officer for Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard rescue teams, said: 'They were really lucky, and as they were not far off it just goes to show the importance of having safety equipment on.'

? For more reaction see tomorrow's EDP and next week's Journal.

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