Tyne & Wear

Stricken sailor rescued by Tynemouth RNLI

The inflatable boat being brought back to shore Image copyright Adrian Don/RNLI
Image caption The stricken boat was towed to North Shields

A lone sailor has been rescued after his sinking boat was blown four miles (6.5km) out to sea by strong winds when its engine failed.

The man had set out on his 5.5m (18ft) vessel from Tyneside at about 04:00 BST and called the Coastguard four hours later when he got into difficulty.

The craft was filling with water and only its inflatable hull prevented it going under, Tynemouth RNLI said.

His rescuers described him as a "very lucky man".

RNLI spokesman Adrian Don said the sailor's main outboard engine on his rigid inflatable boat had shut down.

He attempted to use the emergency auxiliary engine but made little progress in the winds before that also failed.

"The man put an anchor out and called for help, but as the boat's battery was almost dead he was unable to use his marine VHF radio and had to rely on a mobile phone with low battery to call for help," Mr Don said.

"Despite having the anchor out, the boat was being steadily pushed out to sea by the wind and the choppy sea was filling the boat up.

"Thankfully our volunteer crew members quickly located the vessel and brought it and the sailor back to safety."

As the man was brought on board the lifeboat, he told the crew: "I thought I was a goner."

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