Dover Coastguard received a 999 call just after 9am on Sunday 27 July 2014 from a member of the public who spotted the out of control RHIB with nobody in it just off shore from St. Leonards, East Sussex. The caller then reported that 2 people were in the water clinging on to a buoy about a ¼ mile off shore as the RHIB circled near them.
The Hastings Coastguard Rescue Team plus the Hastings inshore RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene. When they got there, they found the 2 people had managed to swim back to shore where they were met and looked after by the Coastguard rescue officers and an ambulance crew. It doesn’t appear that they suffered any injuries.
The RHIB meanwhile was still circling just off shore but the crew of the lifeboat managed to bring it under control and cut off the engine.
Nicola Goodban, Watch Manager at Dover Coastguard, said:
“This Sunday morning boat trip could easily have ended in tragedy. It appears the driver of this RHIB was not wearing a kill cord, which meant when the people on board were thrown into the water, there was no way to stop the engine and bring the boat under control.
“We always recommend you wear a kill cord when out on a power boat. One end of the kill cord is attached near the throttle and the other should go around the helmsman’s leg. You should always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and remember to renew it regularly.”