Rescue helicopter winches fisherman to safety

A distress flare
A distress flare
Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

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A fisherman was plucked from the sea by a rescue helicopter crew after his boat sank beneath him off the Isle of Wight today.

Solent Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter, based in Lee-on-the-Solent, winched the man to safety and took him to St Mary’s Hospital at Newport.

The fisherman sent out a mayday call at 10.40am saying his boat was taking on water.

The vessel sank 10 miles south west of the Isle of Wight and the man, who was wearing a lifejacket and had a handheld radio and distress flares with him, fired a flare to help the helicopter crew locate him.

The Needles Coastguard Rescue Team had been sent to a vantage point, while the RNLI Yarmouth lifeboat was on scene.

Alan Waters, Duty Watch Manager at Solent Coastguard, said: ‘This fisherman was wearing a lifejacket, which no doubt aided his survival. He also took distress flares and a handheld radio into the water with him which enabled rescue units to find him quickly.

‘We always recommend fisherman wear a personal flotation device whilst working on the deck of a vessel at sea. It’s also useful to have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or a Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) with you, which can send an accurate position of where you are to the Coastguard.’