Russian sailor's boat beaches off Norfolk coast

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRussian sailor rescued from Scroby Sands

A Russian sailor who had to abandon his boat on a sandbank off the Norfolk coast was "very fortunate" not to have died, the RNLI has said.

The man, who has not been named but is believed to be travelling from Sweden to Morocco with no radio, has been rescued twice in a week.

Neal Duffield, station operations manager in Gorleston, said: "He was very fortunate.

"If we hadn't found him he probably would have perished."

The Home Office said the sailor visited the Russian embassy before returning home.

His yacht first got into trouble on 6 December, in a gas field, and had to be towed to Great Yarmouth.

Image copyright Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Lifeboat
Image caption The Russian sailor was towed to Great Yarmouth days before he beached

As he continued his journey on Saturday, the sailor used a mobile phone to report he was having difficulty near the Britannia Pier, but the RNLI could not locate him.

"Eventually he was spotted on ground on Scroby Sands," said Mr Duffield, adding that it was fortunate he was found without the aid of locating devices.

"If it's after dark, it's a big sea, he's a stranger. It's very much like finding a needle in a haystack," he said.

In a "very difficult job", the sailor was rescued from his boat by the lifeboat crew and taken to safety.

"There was no way we could salvage his boat," Mr Duffield said.

The yacht remains stuck in the sand, with its future uncertain.

Port chaplain Peter Paine said he arranged for the sailor, "who had nothing", to stay at a local hotel for two nights.

Related Topics