Pair's dramatic life-saving rescue

By Richard SmithA SPEEDBOAT owner last night thanked the coastguards and volunteers who saved his life after it capsized on its first outing.Daren Debenham, 23, from Ipswich, and his friend, Richard Baldwin, 24, also from Ipswich, were plunged into the freezing sea on Sunday afternoon when the speedboat capsized off Felixstowe.

By Richard Smith

A SPEEDBOAT owner last night thanked the coastguards and volunteers who saved his life after it capsized on its first outing.

Daren Debenham, 23, from Ipswich, and his friend, Richard Baldwin, 24, also from Ipswich, were plunged into the freezing sea on Sunday afternoon when the speedboat capsized off Felixstowe.

They spent about 10 minutes in the water before the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service rescued the two men, who were both shocked and suffering from mild hypothermia.


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“I thought I would get a speedboat, I took it into the water for the first time and then I nearly died,” said Mr Debenham, of Donegal Road.

He bought the boat for £500 about 10 days ago and named it Marina Joy, after his mother, Joy, who died from cancer.

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Mr Debenham, a security officer at the Port of Felixstowe, spent a week preparing the boat for its first outing and he took it to the mouth of the River Deben on Sunday afternoon.

Heading out with Mr Baldwin, 24, a coach driver, of Brecon Close, Ipswich, they spent between two and three hours there and had ventured out to sea when disaster struck.

“We were driving along and we decided to turn round because it was a bit rough, but then Mother Nature took its toll and then you realise how strong and powerful the waves are,” said Mr Debenham.

“We heard this massive roar. The engine flipped out and into the water and the boat came to a dead stop. We started taking on water really quickly.”

He added: “My mate was starting to panic, but I told him to calm down otherwise he would only make matters worse.

“I grabbed my phone and rang the coastguard and said we were taking on water. Then I rang back a minute later and said the boat was about to go and the phone went dead.”

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, Harwich inshore lifeboat, fishermen and waterbikers all rushed to help the men.

“Several people helped us, including a woman on a Jetski and the coastguard sent a person, also on a Jetski, and he came flying up to us and we held onto a rubber ring for two or three minutes,” said Mr Debenham.

As well as plucking the men from the sea, the patrol rescue service also recovered the half-sunken speedboat and towed it to Felixstowe Ferry before Mr Debenham brought it home.

Speaking after the dramatic rescue, Mr Debenham pledged to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and urged the public to also support the service.

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said the engine and transom of the speedboat had been ripped off by a large wave off the Deben Bar.

“This service is all down to those people who supported us, otherwise at the end of the day those two guys would have died,” he added.

“A lifeboat was also sent, but by the time it had arrived, we had taken them ashore. They were very cold and had mild hypothermia. They were shaken, particularly one of them.”

Earlier this year it was feared the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service would not operate when Suffolk Coastal District Council withdrew funding to pay for the fuel.

However, generous businessmen and members of the public stepped in to save the service.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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