Dinghy rescue drama

A SAILING lesson ended in disaster today when three people had to be air-lifted to hospital after their dinghy capsized in the River Deben.Coastguards received a call at 3.

A SAILING lesson ended in disaster today when three people had to be air-lifted to hospital after their dinghy capsized in the River Deben.

Coastguards received a call at 3.10pm from a concerned member of the public who spotted the sailors in trouble off the Felixstowe Ferry at the entrance to the Deben.

A helicopter from RAF Wattisham was on a training exercise two miles away and was diverted to the scene.

Felixstowe coastguards and the Harwich inshore lifeboat also attended.


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Two men, aged 56 and 21, and a girl, 15, were winched up to the helicopter and taken to Ipswich Hospital.

They had set out from the Bawdsey Quay watersports centre and were heading.

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Flight lieutenant Steve Murkin of the Wattisham crew said: "They were two trainees who had been out on a sailing lesson with an instructor.

"When we arrived they had been clinging to the hull of the upturned boat for about half an hour and were soaking wet. They appeared to be showing signs of hypothermia so we took them to Ipswich hospital."

A spokesman for the coastguards said: "The boat nose dived into a wave and it threw the occupants in to the water. It can get very choppy out by the Deben Bar, especially on a day like today."

All three casualties were suffering from hypothermia. The men were treated and discharged within a few hours but the girl remains in hospital. Her condition is not believed to be serious.

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