Warning after kite surfer sea rescue

KITE surfers were today warned to keep a close eye on weather conditions at sea and never to go out alone after a man escaped with his life off Felixstowe.

KITE surfers were today warned to keep a close eye on weather conditions at sea and never to go out alone after a man escaped with his life off Felixstowe.

Beach walkers alerted the Coastguard after becoming worried about the kite surfer, named by Coastguards as David James, 40, of Waldringfield, who appeared to be struggling off the Deben Bar.

The Harwich RNLI inshore lifeboat was immediately launched to rescue Mr James, who was found with his board and kite just outside the mouth of the Deben at Felixstowe Ferry.

He had just managed to scramble to the shore on the Bawdsey side when the crew, who were called out about 2.50pm yesterday, reached him. They got him on board and brought him back to shore on the Felixstowe side, where he was met by a Coastguard team.


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Paul Smith, coxswain of the lifeboat, said the man was safe and well.

“He was OK. I think basically he just got caught out by the conditions,” he said.

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“The wind unexpectedly increased and there was a fair swell yesterday still left over from the weekend - people on the shore could see he was having difficulties controlling the kite.

“We picked him up fairly easily and brought him in.”

Mr Smith said kite-surfing was becoming an increasingly popular hobby on the sea and could be spectacular to watch, but those taking part needed to watch the conditions.

“There is a fine line between having enough wind and getting gusts which can cause problems and lead to difficulties,” he said.

“It will depend on a person's level of experience but we would ask people to just make sure they know what they are doing and to take account of the weather.”

Felixstowe Coastguard Jo Arlow said: “He was a very lucky man - he was out there alone, no colleagues and no-one knew he was kite-surfing.

“When you go down in the water, you are just a head bobbing there with a flat kite in the waves and very hard to see.

“He might easily have been swept out and never found, with just his car left in the car park on shore. It was very foolish.”

Mr Arlow advised kite-surfers to make sure they go out in groups of three or more - and always to leave one member on shore to keep watch in case of problems and summon the alarm if needed.

What do you think of kite-surfing on the sea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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