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View Full Version : Kite surfer sparks 10-crew rescue



Davie Tait
8th April 2009, 21:17
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7989186.stm


A man kite surfing the Severn Estuary sparked a rescue effort involving five lifeboat crews, four coastguard land teams and the RAF rescue helicopter.

The alarm was raised at about 1830 BST on Tuesday after his friends lost sight of him as he approached the Welsh coast from Weston-super-Mare.

He was heading for Cardiff but was found near Aberthaw power station, Vale of Glamorgan, around 15 miles away.

Swansea coastguard said the man was given hot tea and "advice".

The man left Weston at about 1730 BST and was expected to arrive in Wales about an hour later, but when his friends had not heard from him, they raised the alarm at around 1830 BST.

It is thought the kite surfer, who was wearing a dry suit and was equipped with a rucksack, was blown off course.

Swansea coastguard coordinated the search, with land teams from Penarth and Barry, Weston-super-Mare and Burnham called to help.

Map of the south Wales and north Somersetn area
The kite surfer was heading for Cardiff but landed at Gileston Beach

Penarth and Barry inshore lifeboats and Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat were launched on the Welsh side, and both Weston lifeboats on the English side.

The rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor was tasked to search around Steepholm and Flatholm, considered the likely course of the kite sailor.

The Barry coastguard team had arrived at their base on Barry Island for their usual Tuesday training session when they were paged to search along the coast.

Meanwhile, the kite surfer landed on the Welsh coast and rang his friend.

After a search of the coastline, he was found sheltering on Gileston beach, near Aberthaw power station at around 2130 BST.

The Barry coastguard team took him back to their base for "hot tea and advice".

'Embarrassed'

The man later caught a train to Weston-super-Mare, where his car was parked.

Swansea coastguards later said the costs of the rescue would have run "into thousands of pounds" but the kite surfer had not done anything "wrong".

Steve Matthews, the watch manager who coordinated the rescue, said the message was for anyone making a cross of this type, in any kind of vessel, to let coastguard know their plan.

Mr Matthews said: "When we did find him, he was quite concerned at the size of the rescue. He was quite embarrassed.

"He hadn't done anything wrong. He was enjoying his sport. He had a shore contact. But if we had known what his intentions were, we would have re-evaluated our search and rescue efforts."