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VIDEO: Helicopter called out as yachtsman 'severs' his finger

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

RESCUE:   Torbay lifeboat brings in yacht Sequel to Brixham

RESCUE: Torbay lifeboat brings in yacht Sequel to Brixham

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TORBAY lifeboat went to the aid of a sailor after his finger was partially severed during a yachting accident.

The former Royal Marine surgeon was able to have his partially severed finger sewn back on at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital after he was airlifted to safety from his boat in Lyme Bay.

Torbay lifeboat was called out on Saturday afternoon following the accident in which the owner was hurt in the engine room of his 40ft vessel Sequel.

His crew raised the alarm and the Torbay all-weather lifeboat was sent out just before 5pm to help with the rescue operation after weather conditions worsened.

Portland coastguard was initially co-ordinating the rescue and sent the Portland coastguard helicopter to pick up the injured skipper off the lifeboat.

His finger was sewn back on at hospital early on Sunday morning.

A Torbay lifeboat spokesman said: "Torbay's RNLI all-weather lifeboat, helmed by second coxwain Richard Fowler, was launched to go to the aid of an injured yachtsman, suffering from a partially severed finger.

"The yacht Sequel which was on a delivery trip from Gosport to Plymouth, had put into Poole on Friday night owing to a worsening forecast. The yacht left Poole at 8am on Saturday with a view to motoring all the way to Plymouth as the high winds would have made sailing uncomfortable.

"The owner/skipper and crew are all very competent experienced sailors have all at sometime competed in the Fastnet race and sailed the Atlantic.

"At approximately 4pm, the yachts engine failed and the owner and crew set about trying to restart it, when the engine cover dropped and partially severed the owner's finger.

"Being an ex-Royal Marine surgeon he knew outside assistance was needed, so the crew made a VHF radio call to Portland coastguard. The coastguard immediately scrambled the helicopter and requested the assistance of Torbay's RNLI lifeboat. The helicopter arrived, but despite hovering over the yacht for at least 15 minutes was unable to safely lift the casualty off as the yacht was pitching and tossing violently.

"The Torbay lifeboat arrived at 5.25pm and recorded a wind speed of Force 9 but managed to transfer the injured yachtsman to the lifeboat.

"Once clear of the yacht the casualty was then able to be transferred to the helicopter who flew him straight to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

"The lifeboat then escorted the yacht into Brixham marina. Latest reports are that surgeons have managed to save the yachtsman's finger."

Sequel resumed its journey to Plymouth on Sunday.

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