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Lyme Regis: Kayaker is saved from drowning
SEA DRAMA: Jon Broome helped to rescue the kayaker with three other crew members of the Spirit of Loch Fyne
LIFEBOAT crew from Lyme Regis saved a kayaker from drowning after he was plunged from his craft into heavy seas.
They plucked the 45-year-old man from heavy swells before he was winched aboard the Portland Coastguard helicopter and flown to the Dorset County Hospital.
The rescue comes after the Lyme Regis crew took receipt of a new vessel – the Spirit of Loch Fyne – earlier this year and as pressure grows to retain the coastguard helicopter.
Jon Broome, who was one of the four crew members, said: “We got the man out of the water very quickly and insulated him to keep him warm. “Our training for this particular type of rescue proved invaluable. “The man was close to drowning and we were operating in a force five wind with three metre swells.
“Our regular training exercises with the helicopter for just such an incident also proved very important.”
The other crew involved in the rescue were helmsman Dave Street, Tim Edwards and John Gage.
They were called out at 8.12pm on Sunday after the kayaker fell from his craft in heavy seas a quarter of a mile off the shore at Axmouth.
The man had been in the water for 45 minutes before his shouts for help were heard.
Lifeboat crew said they could only see him when he waved a paddle in the air because of the state of the sea.
After the rescue the victim was suffering from the cold and had swallowed a lot of water so was given immediate first aid treatment.
A few minutes after he was plucked from the sea the man was winched from the lifeboat to the Portland Coastguard helicopter and taken to Dorchester hospital.
Volunteer lifeboat helmsman Dave Street said: “The sea was pretty rough and the casualty was suffering badly from the effects of the cold conditions.
“The helicopter was soon on the scene and winched the man up from the lifeboat.”
The lifeboat reached the kayaker – seven miles from the harbour – 13 minutes after launch.
The crew managed to get the man on board within three minutes.
The lifeboat crew estimated that the new lifeboat, the Spirit of Loch Fyne, arrived on scene seven minutes earlier than would have been possible in the Pearl of Dorset, which was replaced in March. Mr Street said: “In our opinion, those seven minutes were crucial to the survival of the casualty.
“The new lifeboat is faster than the one it replaced and carries a crew of four instead of three.”
The rescue comes as pressure grows on the Government to reverse a decision to axe the Portland Coastguard helicopter in 2017.
People are being urged to sign petitions to persuade the Government to have a re-think or a debate in the House of Commons on the future of the aircraft.