Published: 09:00, 05 April 2015
| Updated: 09:40, 05 April 2015
A heavily pregnant woman had to be rescued and flown to hospital after the yacht she was on board capsized.
Coastguard crews were called out on Saturday afternoon to a report that two people were clinging to the wreckage of the sinking trimaran a mile out to sea off Dungeness.
The woman who is 37 weeks pregnant, along with her partner, were taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
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They were sailing from Suffolk through to Eastbourne when they ran into trouble causing the boat to capsize.
Dover Coastguard received the call at 3pm from a member of the public and contacted the HM Customs cutter ‘Valiant’ which was in the area.
They reached the vessel within minutes and spotted a red flare which had been fire by the man.
Valiant stood by the wreckage to mark the upturned hull and to keep the pair safe until Dungeness lifeboat ‘The Morrell’ arrived.
The lifeboat crew picked up the couple from the water bringing them to shore where they were met by an RAF rescue helicopter and were taken to hospital as a precaution.
Coxswain Stuart Adams of RNLI Dungeness said: “These two persons were very lucky people. They did all the right things, wearing lifejackets and staying with their vessel.
“Our quick response after a member of the public rang 999 in the new fast RNLI Shannon, halved the time it would have taken to be on scene and I definitely know that two lives were saved here today.”
Both were very cold and shaken up but unharmed and a spokesman for RNLI Dungeness confirmed on Sunday both were fine and had left hospital.
Bob Giles, Dover Coastguard watch manager, said: "The couple were thrown into the water after their vessel capsized.
"Both were wearing lifejackets and the man, ensured that his partner was safe, then tied a rope around himself and dived under the vessel to retrieve a flare so that he could alert rescuers to their position.
"Because they had AIS (automatic identification system) on board they were easy to locate and so were rescued quickly.
“The member of the public who made the first call to the Coastguard did exactly the right thing by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard. It meant that we were able to get rescuers to the scene within minutes of the vessel capsizing."
Video: RAF helicopter takes off from RNLI Dungeness (courtesy of HM Coastguard)
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