Lifeboat crews rescue man off Fylde coast

RNLI rescue off the coast of St Annes yesterday (Sep 29). A man suffering from hypothermia was rescued from his yacht which then capsized.

RNLI rescue off the coast of St Annes yesterday (Sep 29). A man suffering from hypothermia was rescued from his yacht which then capsized.

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LIFESAVERS rescued a man, who was suffering from hypothermia, from his yacht just moments before it capsized off the coast of St Annes.

LIFESAVERS rescued a man, who was suffering from hypothermia, from his yacht just moments before it capsized off the coast of St Annes.

RNLI rescue off the coast of St Annes yesterday (Sep 29). A man suffering from hypothermia was rescued from his yacht which then capsized.

RNLI rescue off the coast of St Annes yesterday (Sep 29). A man suffering from hypothermia was rescued from his yacht which then capsized.

The man, in his mid-to-late 40s, was plucked to safety during a massive search and rescue operation which was launched last night after the Coastguard received a mayday call at around 8.30pm.

One Blackpool lifeboat and two Lytham crews were sent to search for the man, who had been sailing from Ireland to Lytham when his vessel, The Yacht Swift, got stuck on a sandbank in the Ribble estuary.

The stricken sailor had only been able to tell the emergency services he was “to the right of the Tower” but he was quickly discovered in his 26ft yacht, suffering from hypothermia, on Salters Bank, south of St Annes.

Paul Parton, from the RNLI, said: “There is no doubt this man was lucky. We got the mayday call at 8.30pm but it was very vague – it just said he was to the right of the tower.

“We had a hunch he would be further south so we sent some lifeboat crew members by road to Squires Gate to have a look there and the larger Lytham lifeboat was launched.”

As the drama unfolded, a search and rescue helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey was scrambled as well as coastguard crews from Fleetwood and Lytham and a rescue team from Southport.

The lifeboats located the man, who is from Northern Ireland, at Salters Bank, where the yacht had run aground on a sandbank.

Mr Parton said: “The casualty was very cold, so we got him off the yacht and we sent some crew on to the vessel to see if they could manage the yacht.”

The RAF rescue helicopter made several attempts to winch the man to safety but the weather made it impossible so the man was put onto the Lytham lifeboat and taken ashore off Seafield Road, Lytham.

While the rescue operation was ongoing the yacht capsized.

Mr Parton added: “That is why this individual is very fortunate.

“If he had capsized earlier this could have been a very different story. Fortunately he got a mayday message out, we were able to locate him, and all in all it is a job well done and everybody is safe.”

The man was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital by ambulance, where he was treated for hypothermia.