Safety warning after Solent rescue drama

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Coastguards have sounded a safety warning after five people were rescued when their small leisure boat suffered engine failure and began taking in water in the Solent.

The occupants of the boat made a 999 call to the Coastguard but were unable to give a precise location which caused the emergency services to launch a large search over a wide area.

Independent lifeboats from Gosport, Hamble and Ryde, with the Portsmouth RNLI lifeboat, conducted a search through the central Solent.

A Coastguard spokesman said: “The vessel, which had five people on board, had suffered engine failure and because of the weather conditions, began taking in water.

“No-one on board was able to provide a clear position, which was partly a result of having no positioning equipment or navigational aids.”

The Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Lee-on-the-Solent began an initial search and was spotted by the occupants of the boat which meant its location could then be determined.

It was then found by both the lifeboats and the helicopter and all on board were transferred to Hamble lifeboat where the paramedic from the Coastguard helicopter carried out initial medical assessments.

They were then taken to Lee-on-the-Solent where they were met by Hill Head Coastguard Rescue Team and an ambulance.

Steve Mann, senior maritime operations officer, said: “If you’re going out to sea, make sure you’re properly prepared and that you have some way of being located if you get into difficulty.

“VHF DSC sets are readily available. When you use them, we can then pinpoint your location and get to you more quickly.”