A 14-YEAR-OLD boy has been praised after raising the alarm when a family were swept out to sea on their new speed boat.
Josh Vince spotted the boat drifting after it was launched from the public slipway at Langstone Harbour – without the engine being started.
The vessel was caught by the tide and was quickly swept out into the Solent.
But quick-thinking Josh, who was on the beach nearby, dialled 999 and alerted the Solent Coastguard.
Josh, from Horse Sands Close, Eastney, Portsmouth – whose grandad Paul, 65, is a deputy launching authority for the RNLI in Portsmouth – said: ‘I was with a friend on Langstone Pier. A boat was launching from the slipway on the beach near where we were. I saw them go out.
‘Their engine didn’t work so they started to float around past the pier.
‘They kept going out and they started to wave an orange flag. I called the coastguard.
‘We could see they were in trouble.
‘The tide was running out so they were drifting out quite fast.
‘I thought if they floated out too far people wouldn’t be able to see them. I don’t think their engine worked at all.’
The Solent Coastguard called on the RNLI’s Atlantic class lifeboat Norma T to rescue the four Polish adults and a child who were on board.
The lifeboat launched and quickly arrived, shortly after 1pm on Christmas Eve.
On their arrival the speedboat was almost a mile from the harbour entrance, pitching from side to side and taking on water.
Crew members ensured the family on board were alright and got them onto the lifeboat safely where they gave them life jackets. They then towed the vessel back to the public slipway.
Helmsman Lewis Arnold said: ‘They had bought the boat on the evening of December 23. From what we could work out they had literally pushed it off the trailer and expected it to switch on.
‘The weather conditions weren’t that averse but because the tide was on the ebb they were quite a way out by the time we got there.
‘The boat was pitching from side to side, they were taking on a little bit of water.
‘We had to make a couple of attempts to get all of the casualties off the boat and onto our boat safely.
‘On doing so we made sure they had life jackets on and [that] they were all alright. Their safety was our main concern.
‘If Josh hadn’t seen them the rescue could have been a completely different story.
‘We may not have known about them until a lot later on. God knows where they could have ended up.’