On a bitterly cold Sunday evening a gentleman, believed to be in his early sixties, slipped and fell into the River Dart in South Devon, from a marina pontoon.

A fellow yachtsman nearby heard the commotion and investigated – on realising that there was someone in the water, he ran to get a life jacket to throw him but, despite his best efforts, when he returned the man had disappeared into the dark.

HM Coastguard were summoned, who requested the services of the Dart RNLI lifeboat and the Coastguard helicopter from Portland. Following an initial search, the RNLI Torbay all-weather lifeboat was launched to search the estuary, both lifeboats working together with the helicopter to thoroughly cover the area.

After approximately one hour the helicopter found the casualty out near the castles at the entrance to the Dart. The helicopter then guided the Dart lifeboat to the spot, where the gentleman was quickly recovered and taken to an awaiting ambulance, accompanied by one of the Berry Head Coastguard team, who is himself a medic.

At the time of writing the condition of the casualty is not known.