UK Government

Maritime And Coastguard Agency: Couple adrift in grim weather conditions

Press Release   •   Dec 21, 2009 10:59 GMT

At 02 26 this morning Yarmouth Coastguard received a 999 call on mobile phone from a 30 ft motor cruiser the LADY3.

The owner of the vessel said that she had suffered engine failure at 10 00 pm Saturday evening just off the mouth of the River Humber and had anchored. She had no means of fixing her position; her compass wasn’t working and she had lost heating. At the time the wind was near gale force, with a heavy sea and swell, accompanied by snow showers; dangerously cold and forecast to get worse in the area.

She said they did not know the area in which they were adrift as the vessel had only been purchased in Rippon yesterday and she was taking it to London, via Lowestoft. The vessel carried no flares and had only a stern and starboard side light. She did have lifejackets for her crew and herself and the Coastguard advised them to them on immediately.

Yarmouth Coastguard asked her to switch to Channel 16 on her VHF set but her main set batteries were frozen and it would not work, but the vessel did have a working handset and managed to use that instead. Bearings from her calls because of snow showers and lack of procedural etiquette were poor as Yarmouth and Humber Coastguard struggled to obtain a fix on her sea position.

Further calls to her mobile phone were now going direct to voice mail. Therefore Humber RNLI All weather lifeboat was launched to the general area and managed to home in on their very weak signal. When they arrived on scene they discovered a couple in their early 60s onboard, wet, suffering seasickness and hypothermia.

Humber Lifeboat put one of their crew on the ‘Lady 3’ and towed her to Grimsby, arriving at 0500 this morning where, she was met by Cleethorpes Coastguard and the individuals  onboard obtained medical assistance, from an ambulance crew and they are both making a good recovery.

Watch Manager Mario Siano at MRCC Yarmouth said;

“We find it very hard to believe anyone would put to sea in a small motor cruiser, so poorly prepared, with little sea going knowledge, in the dead of night in such conditions and with the weather forecast to get worse. My Watch team and I do not think that they realise how dangerous the situation was that they were in.

“At one stage it seemed so unbelievable I thought we were dealing with a hoax!

“Their lives were probably saved by the fact they did break down and were therefore not able to proceed further to sea and out of contact range in such conditions.

“They basically failed to heed the excellent safety messages contained in the MCA calendar 2010 for the months of Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Sep and Oct. Some still available from most Coastguard Stations!

“Luckily there is a happy ending thanks to excellent work by the crew of the Humber RNLI Lifeboat and the joint efforts of Yarmouth and Humber Coastguard.”

Contacts

NDS Enquiries
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