Rescue drama on River Deben

FOUR people were plucked from the River Deben by rescuers after their ship started to capsize.

Richard Cornwell

FOUR people were plucked from the River Deben by rescuers after their ship started to capsize.

The dramatic incident happened at Methersgate, near Waldringfield, on Saturday lunchtime after a 15ft yacht and a 21ft twin masted Drascombe lugger collided.

Rescuers said it was only a glancing blow but the lugger was already suffering problems and it was enough to roll it and spill its crew into the water.

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Rescue boats - including two providing cover in the Deben for the annual county scout and guide Wet Weekend - responded to a request from Thames Coastguard for immediate assistance.

A rescue craft from Waldringfield Sailing Club managed to pull the two women from the water, while the Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club rescue boat Giles - manned by two off duty coastguards - and Prudence, another support boat from the wet weekend, rescued the men.

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Luke Rudd, Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club rescue officer and a coast rescue officer with the Felixstowe Coastguard team, said the lugger had got into problems with its sail and tiller and the crew had been unable to alter the steering.

“The yacht tried to get out of the way and there was a glancing blow between the two boats but it was enough to roll the lugger,” he said.

“The sail was trapped and there nothing they could really do - it was out of their control.

“It was very windy and difficult conditions.”

Mr Rudd said the crew members were not injured but were quite shocked by what happened.

Neither vessel suffered structural damage - the rescuers had helped stabilise the yacht - but the lugger keeled right over on its side.

“We had to drag it back to Waldringfield like it was a submarine - the engine was underwater and things were floating around because it had taken on so much water,” he said.

“We towed it to the high water mark and then they were able to empty it at low water.”

The rescue boats had worked in difficult conditions with wind getting up to force six.

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