Helicopter and lifeboats rescue injured man sailing alone

Divers being towed in by the Atlantic 85 lifeboat. Picture: Richard Ball
Divers being towed in by the Atlantic 85 lifeboat. Picture: Richard Ball

A helicopter callout to a capsized sailboat capped a busy week for Littlehampton’s lifeboat and coastguard.

The RNLI was called out at 1.31pm on Saturday to help the coastguard rescue an injured man sailing alone.

Littlehampton RNLI’s ‘Ray of Hope’ lifeboat on its way back from training, so the crew transferred to the Atlantic 85 ‘Renée Sherman’ lifeboat and set out again.

The coastguard helicopter flew out to the scene as well, winching down a medic ready to get the man out.

Due to his age, the injured man was brought back ashore aboard Selsey’s new lifeboat, which had gone to the scene for training, with the ambulance service waiting on the shore to treat the man.

Lifeboat spokesman Ray Pye said: “While we will always answer the call for help, the RNLI would like everyone visiting the coast to make safety a priority, whether that means wearing a lifejacket, checking their vessel before they go afloat, ensuring they have means of communication or knowing they should call 999 and ask for the UK Coastguard in the event of an emergency.

“It all comes down to people taking more care and respecting the water.”

On Thursday June 29 the Atlantic 85 lifeboat launched at 4.22pm to assist a boat with two men onboard that had rope caught in its propeller.

Unable to immediately free the rope, the RNLI crew hooked up a line to the vessel and towed it back to shore.

On the Sunday, coastguard tipped off lifeboat crew that a dive boat with nine people aboard had broken down.

Again the Atlantic 85 lifeboat launched, locating the boat and towing it ashore.

Three days later another boat broke down three miles from the harbour entrance and was rescued by the RNLI.

The lifeboat went out again on Friday after reports of a capsized boat off Bognor Pier, but the launch was cancelled soon after and the lifeboat returned to station.