A MAN who fell into the freezing sea off Avon beach yesterday (Sunday) after a RIB he was in capsized was saved in a dramatic rescue by the local RNLI.
The casualty was left clinging desperately to the upturned boat a few hundred yards off shore.
Witnesses to the rescue by Mudeford RNLI were full of praise for the volunteers – including one who had to jump off the rescue boat and wade to the man’s side.
People strolling on the beach and eating in the Noisy Lobster restaurant watched as the drama unfolded around 3pm.
The coastguard received a Mayday call from another RIB reporting three people in the water.
The lifeboat made its way through the swell and was on the scene within four minutes of launching from the station on the Quay.
When the crew arrived they found a five meter upturned RIB in the surf zone off Avon beach with one person holding onto it. They were unable to reach him due to shallow water so a crew member jumped into the sea and waded over to him.
They both made their way to shore where the casualty was treated by paramedics for shock and cold. He had been on an outing with a group of people in two RIBs.
The other two people who ended up in the water had managed to reach safety by themselves.
The lifeboat team recovered the two RIBs and towed them back into Christchurch harbour to prevent them being broken up on the groynes.
Nathan Jauns, a volunteer crew member who was on the lifeboat and assisted in the rescue, said: “When we arrived on scene, we could see that the RIB had capsized and the person in the water was in need of immediate assistance. I’m glad we were able to help the casualty, and that nobody came to serious harm.”
Liam Childs, who was one of the group in the RIBs, praised the rescue team saying: “Thank you so much for helping us out guys! Very impressed with just how quickly the RNLI guys got there!
“Luckily no one was seriously hurt, couple of scrapes and one of the guys was a bit shocked. We are so lucky to have such a great RNLI team on our doorstep, thanks again!”
Witnesses to the rescue were full of praise for Mudeford RNLI. Posting on its Facebook page Lisa Lilley commented: “Well done guys. Your swift response was impressive to watch.”
Another post by Tim Pottle read: “This is why I make a monthly donation to the RNLI – what an amazing team of people.”