Boy and man airlifted after canoe rescue

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy and a man were airlifted to hospital today after the dramatic resuce of five canoeists off Felixstowe Ferry.Thames Coastguard were called out just after 12.20pm by the father of one of the two boys in the party, who was on the foreshore and saw them in difficulties.It is believed the airlifted pair were suffering from hypothermia.

A YOUNG boy and a 63-year-old man were airlifted to hospital today after a dramatic rescue of five canoeists off Felixstowe Ferry.

The pair, who were taking part in an adventure training day, were among a group which got into difficulty between half-a-mile to a mile off the foreshore.

The party is believed to have been from Ipswich Canoe Club and is said to have consisted of two boys, who are thought to be brothers, and three men.

Flight Lieutenant Lee Docherty, co-pilot of the Wattisham RAF search and rescue helicopter sent to the scene, said the alarm was raised by the father of one of the boys in the canoes.

He called Thames Coastguard shortly after 12.23pm after spotting them in difficulties from the shore.

The inshore and all-weather lifeboats from Harwich and Felixstowe Coastguard were scrambled to go to the party's aid.

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The canoeists were brought aboard one of the Harwich lifeboats and the search and rescue crew were scrambled around 1pm when it emerged two of the party were showing signs of hypothermia.

They arrived 20 minutes later, lowering winchman Sergeant Lee Clark on to the boat to take the boy - who is believed to be from Ipswich and aged around 12, off first.

The 63-year-old, who is said to be from the Colchester area, was winched aboard afterwards.

The operation took around ten minutes in total.

Flt Lt Docherty said: “We were called to a hypothermic canoeist off the coast of Felixstowe. The Harwich lifeboat was already on the scene and had five people aboard. Two needed attention for potential hypothermia and we winched them on board.

“The older male was hypothermic. The young boy was certainly suffering from cold and exposure.

“The group had been out for adventure training. They were about half-a-mile to a mile off the coast.

“One of the young boys' fathers called it in to Thames Coastguard from one of the local canoe clubs.

“They went a little bit further out from the coast (than they intended) and they didn't seem to be making headway.”

The pair winched aboard the helicopter were taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment.

Flt Lt Docherty said the remaining three canoeists rescued by the lifeboat crew were taken back to Harwich.

It is believed they were then transported to Colchester General Hospital by ambulance.

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