The 93-year-old sailor was in his dinghy when it was capsized by waves over the Winner Bank, throwing him into the water
A 93-year-old dinghy sailor has been rescued by the crew of Hayling Island RNLI lifeboat after getting into difficulties while approaching Chichester Harbour.
The man had gone sailing with another dinghy sailor when his boat capsized as a result of waves over the Winner Bank.
His dinghy was rapidly swamped and the man could not get back into it and became very cold.
Hayling Island RNLI said the pair had left Langstone Harbour and had no difficulties until they had sailed into Hayling Bay, where there were choppy sea conditions.
They had both turned to enter Chichester Harbour when the capsize happened. The RNLI said this hadn’t been seen by the man’s sailing companion.
The alarm was only raised when the crew of a fishing boat spotted the 93-year-old sailor and his dinghy, which was being washed ashore.
The fishermen radioed the UK Coastguard for help, and the Hayling Island RNLI Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched.
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Once on scene it was evident that the sailor had been in the water too long and was suffering hypothermia, so needed to be taken ashore quickly.
Hailing Island RNLI helm, Pete Hanscombe, said: “The elderly man had been in the water for an unknown length of time and clearly was in distress. He was very glad to be in the lifeboat heading to safety”.
Once ashore, the sailor was taken into the care of the lifeboat station’s paramedic and shore crew, and an ambulance was called.
With careful care the man recovered but was taken to hospital to be checked over. He was discharged later that day and was able to return home.
Back on the scene of the capsize, the crew of the fishing boat was still hanging onto the man’s Gull dinghy.
The crew of the Atlantic 85 returned to try to tow it ashore, but found it too full of water and so had to let it be driven by the tide and wind onto the beach.
Once there, the volunteers were able to bail out the dinghy and then tow it to the lifeboat station.
It was collected by the man’s sailing companion the next day.
He expressed their gratitude for a swift reaction to recover his friend and for the expert care he received once ashore.
The rescue happened on Saturday (30 September).