Young sailors involved in dramatic rescue off Eastbourne Pier

TWO young sailors got into severe difficulties yesterday evening off Eastbourne pier and had to be rescued by the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat. They were later taken to hospital suffering from suspected hypothermia and exhaustion.

Their inflatable dinghy capsized three-quarters of a mile off Eastbourne pier and they then tried to swim ashore.

Fortunately several holidaymakers and anglers by the pier saw their predicament and called Dover Coastguard.

Eastbourne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched in a dramatic bid to rescue the pair who were becoming increasingly exhausted and were consistently disappearing beneath the waves.

The rapid response by the volunteer lifeboat crew enabled them to be on scene quickly and, guided to the location by witnesses on the end of the pier, they were able to pluck the casualties from the sea and into the lifeboat.

The pair were then taken to the inshore lifeboat station and seen by the station doctor. They were later taken by ambulance to the DGH for treatment. Senior helmsman Dave Needham said after the rescue: “Those lads were very lucky that they were spotted so far out to sea, when we got to them they were in real trouble, I doubt they would have made it to shore unaided in their condition.”

Before the RNLI crew were stood down, they were retasked by Dover Coastguard to escort a 34ft yacht into Sovereign Harbour which had suffered engine failure whilst approaching the marina. A tow was rigged and the yacht taken through the harbour entrance and passed to the harbour workboat.

WERE you the young sailors who got into difficulty? We’d like to hear from you. Contact newsdesk on 01323 414488 or email