Drunken prank sparked rescue drama

TWO brothers sparked a full-scale helicopter rescue when the dinghy they took as a drunken prank began to sink, a court heard.

Colin Adwent

TWO brothers sparked a full-scale helicopter rescue when the dinghy they took as a drunken prank began to sink, a court heard.

Carl and Craig Cameron admitted taking the boat without consent from Deben Yacht Club in Woodbridge.

The early-morning episode led to a rescue which cost at least �10,000, South East Suffolk Magistrates Court was told.

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Asked if he had anything to say before magistrates sentenced him, Carl, of Adastral Close, Felixstowe, replied: “I just want to apologise for the inconvenience. I think I had had a little bit too much to drink. At the time I thought it would be funny to get on the boat and have a little bit of a go on it for 10 minutes.”

His brother added: “I'm very sorry for what's happened.”

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Prosecutor Lesla Small said Craig, 27, of Runnacles Way, Felixstowe, and Carl, 24, had been drinking in Woodbridge when they took the boat at around midnight on September 13.

After leaving the town's football club and the Cherry Tree public house, the pair put their bicycles into the dinghy at attempted to go out on to the water.

However, the boat began to sink. The brothers had to abandon it to get on to another craft before dialling 999 for the coastguard.

The pair managed to tie the dinghy to the boat they had got on to and waited for the RAF search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham to airlift them to safety.

When they landed on Kingston playing field in Woodbridge paramedics and police were waiting for them.

During police interview Craig said they had gone to Woodbridge on a train from Westerfield. They had taken their bikes with them and left the bicycles in Woodbridge while they went out drinking.

They then decided it would be a good idea to go out in the dinghy and head towards Felixstowe Ferry, but the boat came away from its mooring and started to take on water.

The pair managed to clamber aboard the other boat for safety.

Following the rescue it was found that the dinghy did not have its motor attached. However, the brothers said it had not been there when they tried to take it.

Magistrates ordered the brothers to each do 100 hours community work. They were also ordered to each pay �100 compensation and �85 costs.

After the hearing Craig Cameron said: “It was just a drunken prank.”

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