Beacon saves the life of overboard solo sailor

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AN emergency beacon made in Portsmouth has helped save the life of a solo sailor.

Richard Coles, a 68-year-old sailing enthusiast, was returning to his home port in Plymouth when he fell overboard while trying to untangle one of his yacht’s sails.

On his own and unable to get back onboard, he decided to activate his Fast Find Personal Location Beacon, made by McMurdo in Hilsea.

The beacon’s alert was sent to a search and rescue crew, who found Mr Coles just one and half hours later.

They winched him aboard their Sea King helicopter and took him to the Royal Cornwall Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.

Mr Coles said: ‘I was extremely grateful to be carrying my PLB on a pouch around my waist when I was forced overboard and came into difficulty.

‘If it were not for my Fast Find PLB, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t be here today and I would like to thank the rescue services for their amazing help and the speed in which they were able to assist me.’

McMurdo is part of the Orolia Group.