Men saved from Tresco Channel after kayak capsizes

April 3, 2019

Two members of Tresco Coastguard saved the lives of a pair of drunk workers last weekend when their kayak capsized on the way back to Bryher.

 

Tresco Island Harbourmaster Adam O’Neill (right), who is deputy station officer at the island’s Coastguard, was alerted to a commotion on the beach at New Grimsby at around 10pm last Sunday (March 31st) and found two men arguing.

 

When the men said they were heading back to Bryher on their boat, he left them to it but decided to monitor the situation from the quay along with Tresco Services Manager and fellow Coastguard Dave Page.

 

Concerned for their progress in what turned out to be a kayak rather than a boat, Adam continued to shine the flashlight on them as they crossed the water. When they were about halfway across, the kayak capsized and the pair disappeared from view.

 

Knowing that the men were drunk, fully clothed and without life jackets, Adam and Dave - who had no means to raise an alarm - ran for their own life jackets and grabbed their punt to try to find them.

 

Although the men were difficult to spot in the dark, they were eventually found clinging to a mooring buoy mid-Channel. After picking them up and taking them to Bar Quay, Adam and Dave headed back out to retrieve the semi-submerged kayak.

 

Adam, a former trainer at the RNLI college in Poole, coordinated with the first responders on Bryher to ensure the men - both mainlanders who were painting a holiday cottage on the island - made it back to their accommodation safely and did not require further assistance.

 

His wife Siân said: “I know the islands pride themselves on looking out for each other but when people put themselves recklessly in danger they also endanger those coming to their aid.”

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