Mayday alert as vessel capsizes with children onboard

The Westmorland Gazette: Barrow RNLI Lifeboat. Picture by John Falvey Barrow RNLI Lifeboat. Picture by John Falvey

THREE adults and three children escaped after their boat capsized in a strong incoming tide after its propeller caught on a rope below the surface and over-turned them.

The incident happened in Walney Channel on Saturday afternoon (May 17) and saw all six casualties taken to Furness General Hospital for check-ups.

Barrow's inshore lifeboat, manned by volunteers, was launched after an alert from the Coastguard which had received a Mayday call.

Eyewitnesses at the scene reported several people in the water and the boat overturned.

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The volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station, said it happened near to Barrow's deep water berth.

They launched its Spirit Of Tamworth inshore boat within 10 minutes of the alarm and were led by helmsman Dave Kell, and crew members Adam Cleasby and Matthew Tippins.

A spokesman said the weather was fine at the time with no wind, although the spring tide was 'flooding strongly' with high water of 9.4 metres expected between 2pm-3pm yesterday.

"The lifeboat arrived on the scene at 12.52pm and found that the casualties were all safely ashore and being examined by ambulance personnel," said spokesman John Falvey.

The lifeboat crew recovered the stricken vessel from the channel as it floated towards Jubilee Bridge which connects Barrow Island to Walney Island.

The spokesman said they towed it to the shore and got it on a trailer out of the water.

Helmsman Dave Kell said: “The propeller of the vessel fouled a mooring rope which held it firmly, but before it could be cut free the very strong current of the flooding spring tide dragged the stern of the boat under the water and overturned it.

"The three adults and three children ended up in the sea, but had made the shore by the time we arrived. Thankfully the owner managed to get off his Mayday message by radio which alerted us, and everyone was wearing a life jacket which ensured they kept afloat.”

Barrow lifeboat station has been operating since 1864 and to learn more about the lifeboat station go to www.rnli.org.uk/barrow

Comments (1)

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2:18pm Mon 19 May 14

give-up says...

Superb photograph. Thank goodness this accident didn't become a tragedy. Well done to everyone concerned.
Superb photograph. Thank goodness this accident didn't become a tragedy. Well done to everyone concerned. give-up
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