Dramatic dash to sinking dive boat

Lowestoft RNLI pull eleven divers from choppy brown seas

Author: Pat
24th July 2012
 

Lowestoft lifeboat enacted a dramatic rescue on Sunday as a dive boat sank suddenly just offshore.

Eleven people on board the Storm Petrel found themselves dumped into choppy brown seas off Suffolk as the ship sank by the stern in a matter of minutes.

the rapid speed of the sinking was particularly frightening

For the four people in the wheelhouse particularly, the rapid speed of the sinking was particularly frightening. Finding the deck of the boat already beneath the waves, they were forced to clamber out through a small window.

The 33ft-long vessel had been out at sea and was returning to Lowestoft harbour when water began rushing in.

One of those onboard described how fast the waters rose as ‘going past his ankles and knees in a matter of seconds.’

Storm Petrel’s skipper didn’t even have time to get on the radio. Luckily, the crew of the all-weather lifeboat Spirit of Lowestoft was nearby when they saw the diving boat began to sink around a quarter of a mile north east of the harbour.

John Fox, coxswain of Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat Station said: “We left at 10am and were out on an exercise helming with the crew.

“We actually saw the dive boat as it left, and as we were coming back at about noon we saw the boat again. It looked like he was coming in, and hadn’t actually been for the dive, but it was in a bit of trouble. The next thing it was down at the stern and they were baling out.

“You could see four of the guys in the wheelhouse, with their faces by the glass, they must have been terrified. There was no Mayday call – it was sheer luck that we were there at the time.”

Four people pulled from the sea were taken to hospital for treatment for diesel ingestion and shock.

Fox added: ‘If they had been further offshore it could’ve been a different story – it was as lucky as that really.’

The volunteer cox praised all involved. He said “I have been on the lifeboat for more than 20 years and I have never had to rescue that many people in one go like that.

“I would like to pay tribute to my crew. It was their swift work, and the guys in the water who stayed calm as it was a very major incident.”

Brilliant work by the RNLI and a good result. You can donate to the lifeboats here.

 
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