Missing crew sparked Sidmouth Lifeboat search
Crew members took on dangerous coastline in the dark well into the early hours of Monday morning after boat failed to make port by its expected time.
FEARS for three people aboard a missing rowing boat saw Sidmouth Lifeboat rescuers carry out an extensive midnight search.
Crew members took on dangerous coastline in the dark into the early hours of Monday morning after the boat failed to make port by its expected time.
Lifeboat members were concerned that the vessel had possibly set out from Budleigh Salterton at around 10pm, with no lights or life jackets on board.
They carried out a close inshore search.
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“This stretch of coast is unforgiving with vertical cliffs and no safe harbour. The risks are seriously increased when navigating in the dark, with no lights or life jackets,” said Sidmouth Lifeboat crew member and spokesman Mark Roden.
“Using search lights and night sights we scoured the cliffs and out to sea,” he added.
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“We needed to get as close as possible to the shore to improve our chances of detection. At times we only had a few feet between us and the rocks below.
“Thankfully the rowing boat did make safe harbour at Ladram Bay and we were stood down at half-past midnight - but our work didn’t stop there.
“By the time we’d returned to the launch site, recovered the boat, refuelled, readied the lifeboat for the next launch and written reports it was almost 2am.
“As this was a training Sunday, some crew spent nearly ten hours on active duty. I would like to thank them for their unwavering dedication to the cause.
Crew members included Mark, Simon Sparrow, Guy Bennett and Guy Russell, all assisted by tractor driver Phil Marish.