Sidmouth dinghy drama sparks safety warning

Bikini clad woman suffers mild hypothermia after trio pile into inflatable

A BIKINI clad woman suffered mild hypothermia when she and two male pals piled into a tiny rubber dinghy and ended up in peril when they tried to paddle from Seaton to Sidmouth.

Town lifeboat rescuers said it was lucky the situation wasn’t far worse after the trio and their inflatable vessel had to be rescued off Weston Mouth on Monday night.

The threesome boarded the small dinghy with large rucksacks but no lifesaving equipment.

It is believed a cliff top walker raised the alarm when the dinghy was spotted 300 meters offshore. Sidmouth Lifeboat rescuers were tasked to the scene at around 8.45pm.

“Although it was nice weather, the sea was quite choppy and they were struggling to make headway,” said Mark Roden, Sidmouth Lifeboat’s public relations officer.

“If they hadn’t been reported, and had been thrown any further out, they could have ended up in serious trouble.

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“What they were in wasn’t much more substantial than a kids’ dinghy.

“They weren’t wearing appropriate clothing, the boat wasn’t fit for purpose, and there were no life jackets.

“The female was wearing a bikini, and had mild hypothermia.”

The crew towed the dingy, and those on board, to Sidmouth beach – where waiting Coastguards issued safety advice.

“We requested some stallholders on the seafront moved their vans immediately before the lifeboat launched and returned, and they did a great job, so our thanks go to them,” added Mr Roden.

Manning the lifeboat were helm Mark Williams, Simon Priestly, Guy Russell, Alex Goodhall and Guy Bennett.

The shout was Mr Williams’ last active duty as a senior helm.

Volunteer FolkWeek steward Colin Standfield, visiting from Ealing, caught the drama on camera and provided the Herald with this photo.