Mud-foiled sailors airlifted to hospital

Stuck in the mud is never a good way to end a day’s sailing (artist’’s impression only)
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It was what you call a 'bad hair day' for a couple of British sailors. All they wanted was a day out in the yacht, but the two sailors ran into trouble when their yacht ran aground in the muddy Blackwater Estuary near Maldon on the Essex coast during low tide. Of course, it didn't seem such a problem at the time.

It wasn't too far from shore, so rather than wait for high tide, they decided to try to get ashore using their dinghy. However, on their way to the shore the dinghy itself became stuck in the mud. Now they couldn't reach shore and they couldn't get back to the yacht.

Stranded, one of them got into the water to try to assist the situation, but it was now late in the afternoon and the temperature was dropping. They were 500 metres from the coastline. They decided to call emergency services. That was at around 4.45pm.

Fire crews were scrambled, a coastguard launch sped to the scene and an ambulance arrived overland to help the two to the shore.

Crews brought one man back on a rescue sled and towed the other in the dinghy through shallow water.

It took a RAF helicopter to finally transport the sailors to hospital from their misadventure
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However it was finally a RAF helicopter, who arrived at about 1825, which transported the men out of their difficulty.

Station officer John Harris, who attended the incident, said: 'Both men had been exposed to the elements for some time and one appears to have fallen in the water at some stage so was wet, extremely cold and showing signs of suffering hypothermia.

'Fire crews worked with the coastguard and a paramedic to ensure that the men were stable and to bring them and their boat closer to shore.

'We took the decision to winch them into the helicopter 200m from shore, because that way the helicopter would not stir up as much debris as it would on dry land as it hovered.'

After being assessed by paramedics they were taken by RAF Sea King rescue helicopter to Colchester general Hospital for treatment.

...and all they wanted was a nice day on the water.