Helicopter rescue drama off coast

SUFFOLK'S helicopter heroes have been involved in two serious incidents today.

SUFFOLK'S helicopter heroes have been involved in two serious incidents today.

The Wattisham RAF search and rescue crew was called to two boats off the coast of Great Yarmouth to transport two men to hospital, one of whom is believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

The first call came in at about 12.30am this morning to a seriously wounded man on board a yacht sailing from Holland to Lowestoft.

The skipper of the German yacht, 44-miles east of Great Yarmouth, had been hit by the ship's boom on the head and was badly hurt and bleeding heavily.

The yacht put out a mayday call picked up by a German navy vessel, which it transferred to a Dutch naval vessel which contacted the Dutch coastguards who in turn contacted the Great Yarmouth coastguards.

The helicopter crew was then dispatched and used a nearby German minesweeper to help board the yacht, called Waikiki, and winch the 44-year-old injured skipper onto the helicopter, from where he was taken to the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

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Then soon after the crew landed at about 3am it was called to another incident 30-miles off the Great Yarmouth coast where a 33-year-old British man had collapsed in a toilet.

The man was discovered slumped in the toilet drifting in and out of consciousness and with head and arm injures on the P&O Pride of Hull ferry travelling from Rotterdam to Hull.

The crew landed on the ferry and again took the man to the James Paget Hospital. It is not believed his injuries are life-threatening.

However, the Dutch skipper of the yacht has since been transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and it is thought his injuries are extremely serious.

Wayne Brunning, Yarmouth Coastguard watch manager, said: “We would like to thank the crew of Rescue Helicopter 125 and Gorleston Coastguard rescue team for ensuring that these people were evacuated for treatment as quickly and safely as possible.

“While it is unusual to get two incidents of this type in quick succession, both incidents were dealt with as quickly and professionally as one would expect.”

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