Felixstowe sea rescue drama

RESCUERS plucked a woman from the sea today in an early morning drama off the beach at Old Felixstowe.A search and rescue helicopter team from Wattisham, along with coastguards, lifeboat crew, police and an ambulance were called to The Dip in Cliff Road after police spotted the woman walking out into the water in the early hours.

RESCUERS plucked a woman from the sea today in an early morning drama off the beach at Old Felixstowe.

A search and rescue helicopter team from Wattisham, along with coastguards, lifeboat crew, police and an ambulance were called to The Dip in Cliff Road after police spotted the woman walking out into the water in the early hours.

At first the woman refused to get into the lifeboat and fought off attempts to pull her to safety - swimming off each time.

But after much coaxing and as the cold set into her body, she accepted help and was brought ashore after around 50 minutes.


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Dog walkers and residents woken by the sound of the helicopter watched the scene from the clifftops as the emergency crews - many of them volunteers - tried to rescue the woman from the North Sea around 5am.

Keith Churchman, of the RNLI at Harwich, said initial reports had said an elderly person was in the water but the woman - who has not been named - turned out to be in her 40s.

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Mr Churchman said: “The crew tried to bring her aboard the inshore lifeboat but she was putting up resistance and refusing any kind of help and wasn't having any of it - it gave the volunteers quite a problem.

“After a lot of coaxing and talking to her she eventually did get into the lifeboat and the crew were able to bring her ashore.”

One of the coastguard team helping with the incident was a neighbour of the woman and also tried to coax her into the boat.

A spokesman for Thames Coastguard said the woman, who had been about 250 metres offshore, was quite cold and suffering the effects of hypothermia, but didn't appear to be suffering from any other injuries.

She was taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment.

At this stage it is not known why the woman was in the sea.

Trevor Preece, Wattisham helicopter winch man, said: “When we got to the scene police, ambulance and the rescue boat were there and the woman appeared to be standing in the sea not wanting to get into the rescue boat alongside her.

“Our downwash was the last thing needed, so we showed our presence, thinking it might coax her out of the water, and then stayed away for a bit.

“We were on scene for around 45 minutes.”

Alistair Marks, who lives at The Pines near The Dip and works for Axa Insurance in Ipswich, said he had been woken by the sound of the Wattisham search and rescue helicopter at around 5.10am and saw two police cars and an ambulance on standby.

He said he could see a dark-haired woman about 200 yards out and the lifeboat men tried to coax her into the boat before picking someone up from the shore who appeared to be talking to her from the bow.

Do you know the woman? Call the Evening Star Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 294109.

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