Jersey Crews Save Skipper's Life

Jersey Coastguard jointly coordinated a search and rescue operation last night which saved a man's life after his boat sunk at Les Ecrehous Reef.

A mayday call was made from the French vessel at around 21:30, before the man onboard put his lifejacket on and took to the water. At this point, all communication with him was lost.

Jersey Coastguard worked with CROSS Jobourg to organise the search, which involved the Channel Islands Air Search, the RNLI St Helier and the RNLI St Catherine's lifeboats along with two helicopters and a lifeboat from France.

Despite difficult sea and visibility conditions, it was the St Catherine's lifeboat crew who spotted the man in the water, seven miles from the shore. They noticed a light in the distance, which turned out to be the man's mobile phone torch. He was found less than 45 minutes after his initial plea for help, and although he had begun to suffer from the effects of the cold water, he was still conscious.

The man was transferred to the French lifeboat and was taken back to France for medical care.

Helm of the St Catherine's lifeboat, Robin Fitzgerald, said:

'We are thankful that the individual was wearing a life jacket and had a mobile phone with a torch, which helped us locate him. This is a reminder of the importance of always wearing a life jacket and having proper communication equipment when out on the water.'

A spokesperson for the Jersey Coastguard added:

'Jersey Coastguard would like to offer our sincere thanks to the crews of all of the assets that assisted in saving this person's life. The brave men and women who volunteer to head out to sea at night in rough conditions humble us with their bravery.'

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