Lucky escape for fisherman

AS hail pounded down on him and his boots and jacket filled up with water, stricken Ipswich fisherman Stuart Goodchild wondered if the end had come.But thanks to a Good Samaritan, Mr Goodchild is counting his blessings after finally being hauled out of the water after his dinghy capsized on the River Orwell.

AS hail pounded down on him and his boots and jacket filled up with water, stricken Ipswich fisherman Stuart Goodchild wondered if the end had come.

But thanks to a Good Samaritan, Mr Goodchild is counting his blessings after finally being hauled out of the water after his dinghy capsized on the River Orwell.

The nightmare began when Mr Goodchild, who part owns a fishing boat, decided to go fishing by himself at Levington.

But soon after the 28-year-old butcher set out on the water, the weather began to change

As the wind picked up, Mr Goodchild decided it was time to make for dry land - but before he knew it, he had been thrown overboard into the water.

Mr Goodchild was floundering in the biting conditions, but he was saved by a Good Samaritan who happened to sail past.

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Mr Goodchild, of Purplett Street, said: "I was meant to go out fishing with a mate, but he pulled out, so I went out by myself.

"I just went fishing up Levington on the boat - Lydia - on Sunday. I had just started fishing when the wind started to pick up. It must have been about 12.15pm-12.30pm.

"I went round the front of the boat to pull up the anchor, but I couldn't get the anchor up, so I came back round to get some gloves.

"A wave must have hit the boat, because the boat was tipping sideways. I went to grip the rail, but I missed and fell in the water.

"It was cold, very cold. My boots have filled with water and I had to take them off. My jacket was filling with water, but because my hands were so cold, it took a while to get it off.

"I thought that if I could just get my jacket off, I could get back in, but it was getting colder by the minute.

"I was getting a bit scared. I went round the back of the boat - I thought if I could climb on the rudder, I could get back in. I also tried to swim at one point, but I didn't get very far and had to turn back.

"I tried to get into the dinghy at the back of the boat, but it capsized.

"I was so cold I couldn't swim. I couldn't even lift anything."

Just as things were looking bleak, a sailing yacht happened to pass.

Mr Goodchild said: "Two boats came past, but they didn't hear or see me. Then a black cloud came over and it began to hail.

"I didn't think I was going to hang on for that much longer. But luckily a third vessel - The Willow - came quite close - I just kept shouting out for help and he saw me.

"I got into his boat and he made me a cup of coffee and called for help."

The coastguards came from Harwich, who took him to Pin Mill, where there were paramedics waiting, Mr Goodchild was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

He said: "I would just like to say thank you to the coastguard, the paramedics and the guy who stopped to help. I am very grateful to him."

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