Felixstowe/Ipswich: Hero kite surfer saves man stranded off coast

FELIXSTOWE/IPSWICH: An heroic kite surfer has today told of the dramatic moment he realised he saved the life of a stricken windsurfer stranded in freezing waters.

Nick Cook, who has been kite surfing for the last five years, was making the most of the perfect conditions on Bank Holiday Monday, May 2, off the coast of Felixstowe.

The 37-year-old said he launched from the Ferry beach and made his way out to the Woodbridge Haven buoy, a distance from the beach. He had been out for 40 minutes when he heard a noise, and as he came back towards the Bawdsey Bar he realised it sounded like someone calling for help.

“It was a real shock,” he added. “All of a sudden I saw the head of a person about 30 metres back, up-wind of where I was.

“I was shocked to see he had become separated from his windsurfing rig about 100 metres south of where he was when I found him. Windsurfers don’t tend to go out as far as kite surfers.”

Mr Cook, who lives near Chantry Park, said the man, who was bobbing in the sea, was “pretty frantic” but relieved to see him.

“He told me if he hadn’t seen me he thought he was going to die. It was really emotional, and made me realise how important it was I was where I was at the time.

Most Read

“It goes to show the serious side of two great water sports, and how it is so important we all look out for our fellow souls when it comes to the crunch. It was his day – someone up there was looking down on him.”

Mr Cook got the exhausted windsurfer to grab on to his surfboard and, using his kite, he dragged him up towards Bawdsey Bar.

On route, he spotted the volunteer search and rescue boat leaving the River Deben who then took the man aboard. A spokesman for the coastguard said the 51-year-old windsurfer was in the freezing water for about four hours before Mr Cook came to his rescue. Once ashore, the man was treated by paramedics for hypothermia.

n Are you the windsurfer rescued by Mr Cook, or do you know him? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.