A pair of Hayling Island lifeboatmen had won top bravery medals after risking their lives to rescue a group of teenagers from a stricken yacht in mountainous seas.
Rod James, 40, and Frank Dunster, 41, battled with 20ft waves to reach 17 people on a stricken 75ft yacht which was being hurled about in gale-force winds. The lifeboatmen’s actions won them the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s second highest award for bravery, the silver medal.
Mr James, deputy head of The Hayling School, was the first inshore lifeboat helmsman to win two silver medals – the first was for a rescue in 1981.
He said: ‘At one stage I did think the lifeboat was going to go bow over stern. But the priority was to rescue the crew.’