Published: May 2, 2011
Dinghy trio thank rescuers after getting swept out to sea at Brean

These three men have thanked Burnham-On-Sea's emergency services for saving them after they were swept out to sea on an inflatable dinghy at Brean on Monday (May 2nd).

Troy Fellows, Aaron Dunn and Rob Dunn praised the response of the lifeboat, coastguard and ambulance crews after needing treatment for mild hypothermia.

Two of them spent more than 30 minutes in the sea water, clinging to the side of their dinghy as it was blown out into the channel.

A Coastguard helicopter was scrambled and both Burnham-On-Sea lifeboats were launched at 6.25pm when Jan Williams, the wife of Brean's beach warden, spotted the small inflatable drifting from the shore with two people in the water, gripping the side, and a third person waving for attention.

Jan, pictured right, told "The dinghy was some distance away from the shore and all I could see was a lump with someone waving to get attention. I knew something was wrong and, realising how cold the sea is at this time of the year, I immediately called for the lifeboat. They were in a great deal of danger."

The lifeboat crews plucked the men from the water about a quarter of a mile from the beach and took them back to the beach, where Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards were waiting.

Lifeboat helmsman Scott Rundle told "The three men appeared cold, in poor shape, and approaching stage one hypothermia."

Fellow crew member Stuart Lacey added: "We requested medical assistance and delivered them to the safety of the beach and the waiting Coastguard."

Scott added: "These small rubber boats are not designed for use at sea and they had a very lucky escape."

Two ambulances were called to the scene and the men received treatment at the scene before being released to their relieved families, who had watched the drama unfold from the beach.

The men, all from Dudley in the West Midlands, said they were "massively grateful" for the help they received.

Rob Dunn, one of the trio, added: "We went out for a quick trip and dived into the water for a laugh without realising that we'd drifted out into deep water."

"We tried to get the boat back to the shore but were getting blown out further. The water was freezing. It was pretty scary and we are very, very grateful for the help of the lifeboat crew, the beach warden and everyone who helped."

Dave Jones, Swansea Coastguard Watch Officer added: "Inflatable boats and toys are great fun if used in a swimming pool. We do not recommend them for use at the beach since, as we have seen today, they can easily be swept offshore."

"We always recommend that not under any circumstances should they be used when there is an offshore wind blowing."


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