Exmouth RNLI called out in the night to distressed man on boat, 6 ½ miles out to sea in Lyme Bay.
Brixham Coastguards tasked Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew on Sunday 10th July at 9.28pm – after reports of a distressed man in a Dory boat being hostile with a passing yacht crew.
The American crew on a 72ft yacht reported that the man had initially flagged them down but when they pulled alongside him, he became hostile and began throwing things at them. They pulled away quickly and reported this to Brixham Coastguards and the all weather lifeboat Margaret Jean was launched from Exmouth.
Giles White, Deputy Coxswain said: “Because we had reports that the man was apparently threatening to self harm, we took along two policeman with us.”
“When we met with the yacht crew, they said the man had moved on and pointed in the direction they thought he went.”
The Devon and Cornwall police helicopter, on return from Plymouth, joined in the search. The boat was found in a different location to initially thought, 7.6 miles out to sea, but the man was no longer on the boat. Further sweeps of the area found him attached to a Fender Buoy in the water.
The volunteer lifeboat crew proceeded to the location of the man and tried to negotiate with him. The man had attached himself to the buoy with a rope and was not willing to talk. Eventually, as he had been in the water some time he agreed to be picked up by the crew as he was becoming hypothermic.
Giles added; “We had to proceed cautiously as we didn’t know if the man had any weapons with him. But it was quite clear early on that he wouldn’t pose a threat to us and so we got him out of the water as quickly as possible and proceeded best speed back to Exmouth where an ambulance was waiting.
The volunteer all weather lifeboat crew then returned to the area to tow back the Dory because leaving it may have caused a shipping hazard.