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Lifeboats involved in major search after capsized boat discovered off Suffolk - Lowestoft and flank stations assist in search

Volunteer crew members from three East Anglia lifeboat stations were involved in a major search exercise yesterday (March 10) amid fears people were missing following a boat capsize.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crews from Lowestoft, Southwold, and Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat stations were all launched at the request of coastguard after reports that a 3m speedboat had capsized.

The body of a man was recovered by Lowestoft lifeboat crew within minutes of them launching the lifeboat, but Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, and Southwold crews continued to search until 12.30am this morning in case other people had been on board the vessel and were still missing.

The search began at 2pm on Monday 10 March involving a total of four RNLI lifeboats, Coastguard teams, a Suffolk Police helicopter, East Anglian Air Ambulance, and an RAF search and rescue helicopter from Leconsfield. The request to launch came from Coastguard following reports that something – possibly a person – had been spotted in the sea near Ness Point, Lowestoft.

A man was pulled from the water between South Pier and Claremont Pier just after 2pm by Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat crew and handed to the care of the ambulance service. The man has since been pronounced dead.

The search continued amid fears that other people may have been aboard the boat capsized, but all RNLI lifeboats were stood down by the coastguard at around 7.15pm.

However, RNLI lifeboats crews from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth and Gorleston were requested again by the Humber Coastguard at 8.30pm when they were ask to commence new search patterns. They assisted the search and rescue helicopter based at RAF Wattisham.

This second search did not result in anyone being found and again the lifeboats were stood down at 12.30am today (11 March). A Coastguard team is carrying out a shoreline search today – Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI inshore lifeboat were tasked to assist them as a safety boat because of nearby rocky sea defences.

Michael Oakes, Divisional Operations Manager for the RNLI, said: ‘Our lifeboats launched as soon as we were requested and carried out an extensive search of the area. Our volunteers, trained in casualty care, gave assistance to the man they recovered from the water as they sped back to the harbour to pass him into the care of the ambulance crew. However, we later learned that he was pronounced dead and we are all extremely saddened to hear this. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of that gentleman at this very difficult time.

‘Naturally, our lifeboat crews remain on hand to launch and assist in any further searches should the coastguard require our assistance. In the meantime we can only hope that there were no other people on board the speedboat.’

Photo : RNLI/Mick Howes
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