Levington: Dramatic rescue of three boys at Trimley marshes near marina shows need for coastguard patrol

THREE brothers were rescued as they sank into the freezing cold water of the River Orwell in a stark reminder of the dangers of playing on the water.

This comes as the chairman of the Felixstowe coast patrol today warns the voluntary service is running out of cash so quickly it could be forced to abandon its weekend patrols by the end of May.

The youngsters, thought to be aged between seven and ten, were playing on an abandoned hull found at the shore of Trimley Marshes, near Levington Marina, on Good Friday.

But as the tide began to turn, they were swept out into the river heading in the direction of the busy Harwich harbour.

Their dad swam out in a rubber ring in a brave rescue attempt while onlookers called for help.

The crew of the Volunteer arrived at 2.50pm, four minutes after receiving the call from the Thames Coastguard, and rescued the family.

Fay Mann, of Burke Close in Ipswich, was at the shore and watched as the dramatic rescue unfolded.

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“They did a brilliant job because it could have been a nasty accident,” she said. “They were absolutely excellent. They got out to the lads pretty quickly when people realised they were in trouble.

“The boys were pretty frightened afterwards, and we could see they were quite scared when they were in the boat. They were alright when they got back – I think they were glad to be back on dry land.”

The boys, who were wearing summer gear with no flotation aids, were treated for shock and mild hypothermia before being returned to their mother who was waiting anxiously at the shore.

Coast patrol chairman John Cresswell said: “If Volunteer had not been on patrol in the River Orwell, we may now have been looking at an Easter tragedy.

“The water is still very cold at this time of year – it doesn’t heat up until later in the year – so people should be very careful if they are planning to spend their next bank holiday weekend by the water.”

He added that the incident was particularly worrying for the volunteer service, which relies entirely on donations for its �20,000-a-year running costs, because a sponsorship deal which had been expected to help fund the rescuers had fallen through, leaving them with only enough money to keep going until the end of May.

This comes less than a week after two 14-year-old boys had to be rescued from the sea off Felixstowe beach when their dinghy started drifting out to sea.

- Do you know the family involved? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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