Busy weekend for lifeboats as children go missing on beach

LIFESAVERS The lifeboats from Hayling Island RNLI

LIFESAVERS The lifeboats from Hayling Island RNLI

Titchfield schoolchildren get stuck in to new equipment provided by Fareham College pupils

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AS the summer arrived in earnest, both Hayling Island RNLI lifeboats were kept busy.

On Saturday afternoon a yacht left Chichester harbour with a jolly crew enjoying the sunshine, but with its VHF transmit switch left on.

This blocked the emergency Channel 16 and prevented any other calls being made.

The Solent Coastguard was understandably concerned and tried to contact the vessel without success so eventually after nearly two hours the Hayling Island RNLI lifeboat was launched to find the errant vessel.

The skipper was advised that his transmit switch was on or possibly jammed and immediately took action.

Sunday brought crowds West Wittering beach and early in the afternoon an eight-year-old boy went missing and was still not found after an hour.

Both lifeboats were launched and went to the scene but Selsey Coastguards found the young man.

As the lifeboats turned to go, however, a three-year-old was reported as missing and so the two boats started a search along the shore.

The helmsman on the Atlantic 85 spotted a child answering the description on the beach and so the smaller D-Class lifeboat went to investigate and a crew member confirmed that this was the young child.

The crew member stayed with him until a coastguard arrived to take him safely to his parents.

En route back they found two teenagers in a small plastic boat already half a mile offshore and being taken out further by the tide. The crew took them onboard and returned them and their boat back to the shore.

Late on Monday afternoon a kitesurfer in difficulty was rescued having found the North East Force 5 wind a bit challenging off Eastoke Corner. The lifeboat took him and his rig ashore.

So a weekend of incidents but happily no-one hurt or injured and some sea-safety lessons learnt from some of the events.

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