Child swims to land after speedboat sinks in the Solent

Pictures taken by Gafirs while taking part in the rescue in which a speedboat sank in the Solent
Pictures taken by Gafirs while taking part in the rescue in which a speedboat sank in the Solent
Royal Marines and sailors from HMS Bulwark Royal Marines squadron gathered on Eastney Beachin June 2016 for a poignant commemoration of the loss of landing craft during the 1982 Falklands Conflict

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A CHILD swam to safety after the speedboat they were in sank in the Solent.

Two other crew members were rescued from the water.

A major missing persons search was launched last night when the vessel went down.

HM Coastguard helicopter, Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue (Gafirs), Ryde Rescue and Cowes lifeboats were all launched to search the waters off Gilkicker Point, Gosport, at around 5.45pm today.

Two of the missing crew were plucked from the water by a passing speedboat, but the third, the youngster, was last seen swimming towards Portsmouth.

A search of the Solent between Gilkicker Point and Ryde Sands on the Isle of Wight was carried out by HM Coastguard and lifeboat crews on the water, while shore-based crew from Gafirs scoured the coastline looking for the child, whose age is not known.

After a 45-minute search, the missing person was found to have swum ashore and was safe and well with family.

Gafirs duty officer Chris Newbrook said: ‘After receiving our pager alert, our lifeboat crew was quickly on the water to look for the missing person while we assisted with the search with shore-based crew too.

‘When persons are reported missing in the water all available resources are urgently tasked.

‘It’s a relief that those reported missing are now safe and well.’

The stricken vessel could be seen from Stokes Bay, its bow pointing towards the sky.

Gafirs lifeboat worked with Ryde Rescue to secure the speedboat and remove it to prevent it causing a problem to other vessels in the Solent.

Mr Newbrook added: ‘Working with Ryde Rescue, we brought the boat ashore here at Stokes Bay and, using our tractor, managed to pull it up the beach and to safety.’