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A 'NUTCASE' goes to sea using a AA Road Atlas to navigate from Yarmouth to Hull, and had to be rescued—twice! Writes Kelvin Alexander-Duggan.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution were left with a bill of thousands of pounds after a lifeboat was sent twice in 48 hours to save the same yachtsman—who was using a road atlas to navigate at sea.
In the first drama, Andy Brown had to be saved after he got lost in the middle of the North Sea and wailed to a passing ship, ‘Er, excuse me, which way is it to Hull?'
His 19ft yacht was towed to shore—but two days later he had to be rescued again when he ‘missed' the channel at Wells-on-Sea, and ran aground.
They were astonished that Mr Brown appeared to be trying to make a sea voyage using an AA road map and without any proper marine charts, radio communications and adequate safety precautions. This incident was the third in the last few weeks involving recently-purchased craft that were inadequately prepared for the sea.
The man was a complete nutcase. It is absolutely unacceptable for people to put to sea without basic navigational and safety equipment.
These fools are not only putting their own lives at risk, but wasting the time and resources of the The Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Each rescue was reckoned to cost the charity about £3,500.
So if you are planning to do the Wash, Thames-Medway, Trent-Yorkshire Ouse or the Bristol-Sharpness crossings, don't be a 'fool', ensure that you have the following on board: correct charts, compass, GPS, VHF radio, flares and lifejackets. And if you're unsure, have someone with you who knows what they are doing.
From parched March to sodden July
The wettest April to June in history has brought record rainfall with July likely to follow suit, June was also one of the dullest on record, with just 119.2 hours of sunshine. ,
The Fens has endured weeks of torrential rain which has resulted in a combination of saturated ground, high river levels and further forecasts of torrential rain to come.
For much of the time over the last few weeks the river has been in flood, so was unnavigable.
Scrap thieves release chemicals in committing of a crime
Scrap thieves targeted Safapac, based near Peterborough, over the third weekend of June and released 1,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals into storm water drains which poured into the river.
Some 4,000 fish were killed following the leak and tens of thousands of other fish were left struggling to survive. The thieves broke into a secure chemical storage compound and removed the brass bottom valves on five storage containers of environmentally hazardous chemicals.
The river at the time was in flood which helped flush the chemicals out to sea. The Food Standards Agency placed a ban on the gathering of fish and shellfish from the Nene and the Wash, that was put in place as a precautionary measure, this was lifted a few days later after tests.
Boy drowns below Woodford Lock
Teenager Daniel McCullagh drowned after he jumped in the river from the old railway bridge near Woodford Lock on Tuesday 24th July.
Local landlord Tony Blyth, risked his own life to save the boy. Despite arriving just moments after Daniel had gone into the water there was no sign of him, so Tony jumped in and began feeling around in the murky water with his legs. After 10 minutes of swimming against the current, members of the emergency services arrived and the landlord was pulled out of the water.
Paramedics warned Tony that he may have swallowed so much water his own life could have been put at risk. Daniel's body was found down river towards Denford later in the day.
There was no lifebuoy at the bridge because three had been stolen or burned in quick succession.
An Environment Agency spokesman told the lifebuoy was removed two years ago because it had been replaced three times in quick succession, but was not replaced after the last time, when the housing was burned.
The Environment Agency has not replaced 17 out of 38 lifebuoys along the river between Peterborough and Northampton after vandals stole or burned them multiple times. The Agency warned if there is an expectation that there will be lifebuoys at a site, people come to rely on it and are unprepared when it is missing.