Bideford angler lucky to be alive

A Bideford angler was plucked from certain death by the Ilfracombe lifeboat after he was swept from rocks near Watermouth. The man was fishing near Broadsands Beach around lunchtime yesterday (Sunday) when his wife saw him washed into the rough seas and c

A Bideford angler was plucked from certain death by the Ilfracombe lifeboat after he was swept from rocks near Watermouth.

The man was fishing near Broadsands Beach around lunchtime yesterday (Sunday) when his wife saw him washed into the rough seas and called the coastguard.

Both Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboats raced to the scene to begin a search and discovered the man almost immediately, some 400 yards to the north west of Watermouth Harbour.

He had been wearing a flotation suit which kept him afloat, but in the 20 minutes he was in the water he had drifted about a mile down the coast. There was a force 6 westerly wind and rough seas.


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The was suffering from exposure and semi conscious when plucked from the water by the inshore lifeboat, which took him to Watermouth Harbour where they were met by an Ilfracombe Coastguard Rescue team and the man was transferred to an ambulance which took him to Barnstaple hospital.

Steve Clemence, the Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat helmsman, said he had been "extremely lucky."

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"We had just commenced our search, when he just appeared in front of the boat. I think someone was looking after him," he said.

Bev Haigh, Duty Watch Manager for Swansea Coastguard, said:

"This man was very fortunate he was wearing a suit that kept him afloat and that his distress was witnessed enabling rescue services to be called and to his aid very quickly.

"I would recommend that all sea anglers make the appropriate assessment when undertaking fishing from rocks and wear an appropriate flotation device.

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