Brothers plucked to safety from sea

TWO young brothers are today lucky to be alive after they ended up in some trouble off the Felixstowe coast and had to be rescued.

TWO young brothers are today lucky to be alive after they ended up in some trouble off the Felixstowe coast and had to be rescued.

Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service launched into action after they spotted the two boys run into problems with their rubber dingy about 200 metres from the shore.

A rescue boat was at the scene within minutes where it emerged that a 14-year-old boy had gone into the water to retrieve the oar without a life jacket.

However with the boat, which was carrying his nine-year-old brother, drifting further away due to the winds and the extreme coldness of the sea, the situation was becoming desperate.

Jason Farthing, who was in charge of the rescue, said: “They were very lucky. It could have been really bad.

“Even if you are a strong swimmer in the swimming pool, as soon as you go in the sea and the temperature is 14C, you can only swim half as well.

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“The older boy had a life jacket on but thought it would be easier to swim without one. When we arrived, he had a blue tinge, which means he was getting towards hypothermia and was very confused. I don't think they realised the seriousness of the situation until later.

“We warned them about the dangers of drowning and they said it had been a learning curve.”

The drama unfolded at about noon on Saturday when shore staff at Cobbolds Point Base saw an inflatable dingy drift out to sea.

The rescue boat on patrol off Manor End was alerted and three minutes later, the crew of three were able to pull the boy in the water to safety, just as he was in the beginning stages of hypothermia. The crew wrapped some plastic around him and then, with the younger brother safety on board too, they raced back to the shoreline. They were reunited them with their parents, who had been on the beach at the time.

The family, who did not wished to be named, has thanked the volunteers for their help and said that the boys are now fine.

Mr Farthing added: “I would advise anyone going out in a dingy to either keep it tethered to the shore or tie it to a rock or groin.

“If you do use oars, they should be tied to the dingy.

“It was lucky they were in view of the shore staff. They are the eyes and ears for the volunteers.”

Have you been involved in a dramatic rescue? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said: “The resort could now be facing the tragic loss of a young life were it not for the presence of a Coast Patrol and both the awareness and quick action of its volunteers.

“Thankfully this situation was averted and the resort can continue with its excellent marine safety record, that is until next time.

“Even in the summer, waters around the UK are cold and once hypothermia and cold-shock have set in, your life expectancy can be as little as seven minutes following the first intake of water.

“This young man was very lucky on two accounts, one that he was quickly seen and two that our volunteers were on patrol.

“The recent high increase in fuel has already meant that have had to cut down on patrols and equipment purchase and it is now doubtful whether we can continue patrols beyond August this season, let alone provide a service for next year.”

There are about 20 volunteers in the service, which carries out patrols every weekend and bank holidays. They are also on call at weekends.

If you want to help in any way, call Mr Cresswell on 01394 270929.