Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station

Yachtsman Fatally Injured in Gale-Tossed Solent

11th August 2014

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was among rescue services that attended a large yacht in which a man was fatally injured in what was a near-gale south-westerly today.

The alert was sparked by a ketch radioing Solent Coastguards shortly after 1 pm that a person had been seriously injured. To the scene raced the Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat, the police launch Commander and the Lee-on-Solent based rescue helicopter.

The winchman from the helicopter was lowered to the yacht, and after he had assessed the casualty the yacht proceeded to Trinity Landing, escorted by the lifeboat. There the yacht was met by coastguards and the crew of an ambulance which took the casualty on to St Mary’s Hospital.

Earlier the lifeboat acted as go-between for the winchman, taking him on board then transferring him to the police launch from which he was lifted back into the helicopter.

Praise for the professional way the rescue services had handled the incident was later voiced by lifeboat launch authority, Harry Leslie. “Irrespective of the outcome, this was a good example of emergency services working in a joined up fashion to deal with a most unfortunate incident. It shows the value of joint training carried out in the Solent by all these rescue units.”

This was the second incident in two days that Cowes lifeboat had been called out to a yacht where a yachtsman had been a casualty of strong winds. In the first a Norwegian was treated at St Mary’s for arm and shoulder injuries, from an apparent accidental gybe. It is understood that the yacht was based in Southampton and was on its way to Yarmouth but before the accident was diverting to Cowes because of the weather conditions.

Cowes lifeboat returned to station at 2.20 pm.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

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