Bideford angler thanks his rescuers

A Bideford fisherman paid an emotional visit to Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station on Thursday to thank the men who saved his life. David Babb, accompanied by his wife Theresa and son Damien, made their visit just four days after he was swept from rocks near Wat

A Bideford fisherman paid an emotional visit to Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station on Thursday to thank the men who saved his life.

David Babb, accompanied by his wife Theresa and son Damien, made their visit just four days after he was swept from rocks near Watermouth during an angling competition.

It was only the fact he was wearing a floatation suit and the prompt arrival of the Ilfracombe RNLI Inshore Lifeboat that saved Dave's life in the rough and very cold sea. He told his rescuers he was annoyed with himself for having a stupid accident which should never have occurred.

Amazingly, it was only the first time this year he had donned his floatation suit, a common garment worn by many modern anglers, both for its warmth and life saving inbuilt floatation aids.


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Theresa, fishing alongside, saw her husband fall in and dashed to the top of a nearby hill in order to get a mobile phone signal, covering the 30 minute walk in a mere five. She did and raised the alarm with Swansea Coastguard, as did other fishermen close by.

Dave told his rescuers he fully expected he was about to die and had the terrible thought of his family having to face Christmas without him.

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After being washed off the rocks he said the sea had bowled him over time after time, smashing him into the rocks, thinking his lungs would burst because he couldn't take enough time to draw breath between the pounding waves.

He was then caught by the current and washed out to sea. As he drifted further out, he said he couldn't see how he could possibly survive. The Appledore Shipyard worker said although he felt he was a strong man, he was becoming very weak and very cold.

The next thing he knew the lifeboat was alongside and he was swiftly hauled on board and taken to Watermouth Harbour where a Coastguard Rescue Team and an ambulance were waiting.

Dave was taken to North Devon District Hospital suffering with hypothermia and superficial cuts to his head and hands.

He and his family said they could never repay the crew for their prompt response, as it had saved his life.

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