31 people rescued by Exmouth RNLI when fishing charter breaks down.
On Wednesday 24th August, twenty eight passengers and three crew on board a 54 foot angling boat were stuck at sea when the boat suffered engine failure.
The skipper of the angling vessel had put out an anchor by the number two buoy but it wasn’t holding and the boat was drifting.
Brixham Coastguards tasked Exmouth RNLI all weather lifeboat Margaret Jean to aid the sticken vessel at 12.46pm. On scene the volunteer lifeboat crew discovered the fishing boat anchor had become wrapped and entangled around the buoy. After several attempts to free it, it was decided to ditch the anchor for recovery later, marking its location with another buoy. By this time some of the people on board, adults and children, had become quite seasick as sea conditions changed. The all weather lifeboat towed the fishing vessel back to the company’s mooring at Exmouth. In order to get the passengers back on dry land the lifeboat took all 31 people onto the lifeboat and back to the docks.
Later one of the passengers, Simon Crowder from Luton, paid a visit to the lifeboat station with his children to give thanks to the crew for helping them all back safely.
Simon commented: “It’s not something you want to happen to you, but afterwards you certainly do reflect on it a lot. At the time it was a bit disconcerting when the weather began to close in. The children were getting scared. Some of the other passengers began to get sick and looked a bit grey and grim.”
“It was a wonderful sight to see the lifeboat coming towards us. The crew got to us really quickly and were amazing. They kept reassuring us all the time that it was going to be OK”
“We came over to the station afterwards as we want to give our thanks to the crew.”
The skipper and crew of Southern Angler added their thanks to the crew of the lifeboat. Liane O’Donnell, who has skippered in the area for 26 years without any major incidents said she was very relieved that the RNLI were able to assist so promptly when the need occurred. She added: ‘I never realised how happy the sight of the lifeboat could make me! The problem occurred when contaminated diesel clogged the fuel lines and starved the engine. It just goes to show that sometimes the unexpected can happen, even after all the regular maintenance checks that are made on a passenger-carrying vessel. The RNLI are a very essential service.’
This is the second time the all weather lifeboat had been out in the last few days. On Sunday, 21st August, the volunteer crew went to the aid of a 23foot sailing boat with three people on board that had engine and foresail failure. The all weather lifeboat took the boat under tow from Sidmouth to the visitor moorings in Exmouth.
The inshore lifeboat has been called out a few times recently. The most recent on Thursday 25th August to aid a yacht with two people on board that has run aground on Pole Sands and a windsurfer approximately half a mile out to sea in difficulty getting back to shore after the wind had dropped.