Lifeboat rushes to rescue daytrippers
TEN daytrippers including an 80-year-old man were stranded three miles off the Herne Bay coast when their pleasure boat broke down on Sunday.
The group – who had taken a trip to see the Second World War Maunsell sea forts – had to be rescued by the Whitstable Lifeboat after their seven metre rigid inflatable, the Bay Flyer, broke down.
Lifeboat helmsman Craig Sidders and crew members Rob Nichols and Dan Monk were already at sea on an exercise when they got the distress call.
Fears had grown for the safety of the ten passengers as the weather grew increasingly cold.
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Mr Sidders said "We were diverted from our exercise at 5.40pm and found the Bay Flyer between the Kentish Flats Wind Farm and the Shivering Sands Towers at 6.12pm.
"We took it under tow to Herne Bay and were a mile past the wind farm when we were advised that the passengers and the 80-year-old were suffering from the cold.
"We returned alongside, administered first aid and wrapped the gentleman in a thermal blanket and gave blankets to some of the other passengers."
The crew asked for an ambulance to meet the passengers on dry land.
Paramedic Patrick Kember said: "All the passengers were cold but there was concern for the older man and given his age and medical history we got him into the ambulance, checked him over and warmed him up.
"The others were young and healthy. In these circumstances, if casualties get cold slowly it is best to warm them up slowly, which we did. We sent them on their way happy."
Bay Flyer skipper Matt Stickells said: "The engine cut out after we hit a wave between the wind farm and the Shivering Sands Towers.
"I put in a call to Thames Coastguard. We got the engine running again but it cut out again so we put our emergency procedures into place.
"We made sure everyone was safe and waited to be rescued. I'd like to thank the lifeboat crew, coastguards and ambulance teams for their help."
Bay Tours boss Nigel Collier said: "I'm just glad everybody came back all right. My crew did the right thing and put in a call to the coastguard immediately.
"It is just one of those things. I am sorry it happened so far out to sea. All the passengers have been given a refund."