Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Fisherman dies after boat sinks off the coast of Leysdown

A fisherman rescued from the sea off Leysdown after his boat sank has died.

The 49-year-old, who has not been named, was taken to King’s College Hospital, London, in a critical condition after being pulled from the water.

Doctors turned off his life-support machine on Friday. They said he had suffered brain damage after being deprived of oxygen.

RNLI lifeguards have been praised for their efforts
RNLI lifeguards have been praised for their efforts

This week, a fellow fisherman - who survived the tragedy - relived the terrifying one-and-a-half hour ordeal in the water as the pair tried to swim ashore after their boat sank.

He recalled: "We were nearly a mile out when our boat started sinking. I struggled for an hour to get my mate in before the lifeguards spotted us."

The drama began after the pair launched a new boat from the beach last Monday afternoon. Both had been wearing bright orange life-jackets.

The man said: "My mate had bought a little boat with two oars and an outboard motor but I was concerned it was too small for the sea.

"There was also an offshore breeze so I warned him not to go out too far.

"When we were 300 yards out we were still fighting the tide so I made the decision to leave him and swim to the shore on my own" - fisherman

"We set up our fishing rods but we began to drift. As we started to motor back, the waves began to come over the bow. I began baling but the water kept pouring in over the side. It was terrifying.

"Suddenly the boat turned upside down. My mate was holding on but he started to panic. I got him to float on his back and kick his feet but he started having breathing difficulties. I thought he was having a stroke but I found out later he was suffering from hypothermia.

"When the boat sank I tried towing him to the shore but it was very difficult.

"At one stage I told him to keep floating and left him to get help but I had to go back for him. When we were 300 yards out we were still fighting the tide so I made the decision to leave him and swim to the shore on my own.

"It was then the lifeguard reached me. I told him to go and get my mate. By the time I got to the shore I could see paramedics pumping my mate's chest. I heard later it was a member of the public who dialled 999. I can't understand why the lifeguards didn't spot us earlier. It was hell out there."

The pair had been friends for 12 years. Both had moved independently to the Isle of Sheppey in recent years after living in Maidstone.

RNLI area lifeguard manager James Uren said: "This incident was nothing short of a tragedy and an example of how the sea can be unpredictable and dangerous even to the most experienced and well-prepared of people.

"It appears the two men launched their boat from the beach and ended up in the water when it capsized.

Emergency services at the scene
Emergency services at the scene

"In their own words, this happened almost one mile from the life-guarded area.

"The wind and tide blew them towards the patrol zone of the beach. Our lifeguards are highly-skilled, fully-trained professionals who watch their beaches with vigilance.

"Furthermore, our standard operating procedure dictates lifeguards can reach any casualty between the red and yellow flags up to 300m from the shore and within three-and-a-half minutes.

"It's precisely this reason why we advise beach users to swim between the flags.

"As soon as our lifeguard spotted these men he immediately went to their assistance while a colleague called the Coastguard, which also led to the launch of Whitstable RNLI's inshore lifeboat.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic outcome. Sadly it illustrates precisely the dangers of the water.

"Our thoughts remain with the family of this man at this difficult time."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More