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Capsized dinghy sparks search

PUBLISHED: 15:14 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

COASTGUARDS launched a full-scale rescue operation when an off-duty police officer noticed a capsized dinghy on Filby Broad on Sunday.

Police alerted Great Yarmouth Coastguard just before 1pm as no sailor had been found.

COASTGUARDS launched a full-scale rescue operation when an off-duty police officer noticed a capsized dinghy on Filby Broad on Sunday.

Police alerted Great Yarmouth Coastguard just before 1pm as no sailor had been found. The independent Hemsby inshore lifeboat was launched immediately.

Norfolk Fire Service and paramedics were also called to the scene to help in the search. Coastguards called in the help of the RAF rescue helicopter from Wattisham which at the time was carrying out an exercise at Sizewell.

Police officers helped the lifeboat crew to search using a boat that was moored at Filby yacht station. They reached the stricken dinghy quickly but could not find a sailor so a wider search was started.

After almost an hour police managed to track down the sailor who was at home recovering in a hot bath.

The boat had capsized after being flipped over by strong winds and the girl had managed to swim ashore.

Peter Wheeler, watch manager with Yarmouth Coastguard, said: “We have incidents like this come up all the time but we have to make a decision. If a capsized boat is found and no one is in the area we would always call for a search. The sailor could have hit their head and been knocked unconscious. It is unfortunate as sometimes it can be a waste of resources but we will always look into it.”

Mr Wheeler urged boat owners to make sure their vessels were safely moored and secure wherever possible.

Coxswain of Hemsby lifeboat Gerard Roadley-Battin said the young sailor was lucky to make it ashore safely given the choppy conditions.

He said: “If you are going out to sea or even on the Broads you need to pay attention to what the weather is doing as you can be caught out very quickly with the changing conditions. Also, it is always best to go out with somebody and always wear a life jacket.”

The Norfolk Schools Sailing Association had been running a powerboat course at Filby Broad on Sunday and staff helped in the search. The capsized boat and sailor were not part of the course.

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