RNLI praise for Cromer men after fisherman rescue

Cromer lifeboat crewman Ady Woods, who has won official praise for his off duty role in the rescue of a local fisherman. Picture: SUBMITTED

Two quick-thinking men have been praised by the RNLI after helping to rescue a fisherman who was clinging to a crab pot buoy after falling overboard from his boat.

Fisheries officer Ady Woods, who is also deputy second coxswain at Cromer lifeboat, and local fisherman Billy Davies spotted the man in distress and hauled him to safety.

The unnamed fishermen had been dragged overboard from his boat by a pot rope half a mile offshore last summer.

Mr Woods, was doing his fisheries job on the shore and talking to Mr Davies who had just come ashore, when they noticed an apparently unmanned fishing boat - so he asked Mr Davies to launch his boat so that the pair could investigate.

Finding no-one aboard the boat, Mr Woods called for both Cromer RNLI lifeboats to be prepared for launch. But, before the volunteer lifeboat crews could scramble, he heard shouting from nearby.

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Fearing they may only have moments to spare, he and Mr Davies conducted their own search and found the fisherman in the water, clinging desperately to a crab pot buoy.

They took the man, who was cold and rapidly losing strength, safely back to shore and the lifeboats stood down.

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The actions of the rescuers on July 27 have now been recognised in an official letter of commendation from RNLI operations director Michael Vlasto.

He told Mr Woods of Bernard Road and Mr Davies of Shipden Avenue: 'You demonstrated great initiative and teamwork and I commend you for your actions. Had it not been for you spotting the empty boat and taking decisive action to help, the situation could have been far worse.'

Cromer lifeboat operations manager Richard Leeds welcomed the official commendation, adding: 'Our volunteer crew members undergo intensive training to ensure that they are ready to respond to any kind of emergency, and this means they always alert and ready to investigate should they feel someone is in danger.

'The lifeboat station and the local fishing community have a strong relationship, and that is illustrated here by how readily a lifeboat crew member and local fisherman teamed up when they thought something was amiss.

'I extend my massive congratulations and thanks to both Ady and Billy for their speedy response which prevented what could have been a very different outcome.'

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