Felixstowe: Rescue team’s boat is wrecked in road crash

Rescuers en route to help with last week’s floods operation were lucky to escape with their lives after being involved in a road accident which wrecked their lifeboat and caused £100,000 damage.

Members of Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service were travelling along the A12 to help with the evacuations and rescue in north Suffolk when the convoy of three 4x4 vehicles towing three boats were caught in a cross-wind.

One of the vehicles and a boat was in collision with an overtaking vehicle and hit the central reservation crash barrier.

Rescue service chairman John Cresswell, who was in one of the vehicles and injured in the crash, said: “Our Toyota Hi-Lux cartwheeled over onto its right side before being pulled upright by the jack-knifing trailer and boat.

“The trailer broke free and continued on for some 60metres before dumping the fully-equipped lifeboat, which also cartwheeled and came to rest facing the oncoming traffic.”

Several members of the team were injured.

Mr Cresswell said: “Looking back at the incident photos, eye-witness accounts and seeing our severely-damaged written-off rescue vehicle, trailer and lifeboat, I firmly believe that we were extremely lucky to survive without any loss of volunteers’ lives or at least life-changing injuries.

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“Unfortunately, we are now left without our two most vital assets and will remain off-service for the forseeable future. Sadly, it is 17 years of hard slog and public money down the drain.”

The team had a busy summer, rescuing twice as many people as the previous year.

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