Rescue mission off Rossall involves RNLI crews from Fleetwood, Lytham, Hoylake and New Brighton

A major sea rescue has been hailed as a collaborative effort after a lone sailor fell into the water seven miles off the Rossall coast at Fleetwood.

By Richard Hunt
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 8:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th June 2022, 8:58 pm

The woman casualty, who went overboard from her 31ft yacht , was described as being a “well prepared sailor”.

A major rescue effort was launched involving lifeboats all along the north west coast, with both the woman and then her ‘auto-pilot’ vessel needing attention.

The yacht was finally taken to a safe harbour on Friday morning (June 17).

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A sailor was rescued off Rossall - but the yacht then needed to be retrieved after continuing on autopilot

The alarm was first raised when the sailor’s personal locator beacon (PLB) was activated off Rossall late on the Thursday night.

A rig support vessel was first on scene and pulled the sailor from the water.

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RNLI Fleetwood lifeboat launched just after 2am and met the rig vessel seven miles out, taking the woman on board and speedily returning her to shore before she was taken to hospital by the North West Ambulance Service.

Meanwhile, the sailor’s yacht had continued on its course on auto-pilot heading out into the Irish Sea towards the rigs of the Douglas Oil Complex.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon was scrambled to assist in the search, soon locating the vessel.

Lytham St Anne's RNLI lifeboat was tasked to intercept the yacht and take it to safety.

Once on scene, two RNLI crew members boarded the yacht to take control before the lifeboat brought it under tow.

The River Mersey was considered the best option for finding safe harbour so Hoylake RNLI’s all-weather Shannon class lifeboat was tasked to rendezvous with Lytham Lifeboat and take over the tow.

Meeting Lytham RNLI at Jordans Spit, north west of the entrance to the River Mersey, two Hoylake RNLI crew boarded the yacht, taking over from the Lytham crew.

They then towed the vessel on before New Brighton RNLI took the vessel under tow safely to Liverpool Marina.

A Fleetwood RNLI member commented: “It was a true collaborative effort. We send our thoughts to the casualty and wish her a full and speedy recovery after what must have been a difficult experience.

"She was well prepared and her safety equipment, including her lifejacket and PLB, was vital to saving her life and locating her and her vessel so quickly.”