Lucky escape for sailors

TWO young sailors had a lucky escape after their motor cruiser sank off the Suffolk coast, leaving them stranded in cold seas.James Kininmonth, 21, and Paul Andrews, 26, both cabinet makers from Woodbridge, were sailing just off the River Deben on Saturday morning when water began leaking into their 35ft vessel, called Debora.

TWO young sailors had a lucky escape after their motor cruiser sank off the Suffolk coast, leaving them stranded in cold seas.

James Kininmonth, 21, and Paul Andrews, 26, both cabinet makers from Woodbridge, were sailing just off the River Deben on Saturday morning when water began leaking into their 35ft vessel, called Debora.

Thames Coastguard was alerted to the emergency shortly after 6.15am and sent the Harwich all weather and the inshore lifeboat to the scene as the boat sank.

The men had been in the water for a few minutes when a passing yacht from Harwich called Pisces plucked them to safety. They were later transferred to the all weather lifeboat and taken back to Harwich Lifeboat Station, where they were checked over by paramedics.

Despite being stranded in the water for a few minutes, they had not suffered any lasting damage.

Mr Kininmonth said: “We were going out and the sea was fairly rough but nothing that you wouldn't go out in. All of a sudden, we were about a mile off shore out of the Deben, when it started taking in water rapidly.

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“We didn't find the cause and can only assume we lost a plank from the hull which caused the water to rush in. We had a radio onboard and as soon as we realised we put life jackets on and called the coastguards and gave a distressed call.”

He added: “Before they got to us a chap just out on a cruiser managed to pick us up out of the water which was quite lucky.

“In a way we were very lucky they dealt with it as efficiently as they did. It turned out okay.”

Tim Smith, Thames Coastguard watch officer, said: “It was daylight and there were vessels about but it could have been worse - they are very lucky.”

Mr Smith said Trinity House, which is responsible for marking and dispersing wrecks, would be making sure the sunken vessel was not a hazard to navigation.

If it was, a decision would have to be made about what to do with it, he added.

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