Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Thought We Were Going to Die. If It Wasn't for the RNLI We Wouldn't Be Here

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Thought We Were Going to Die. If It Wasn't for the RNLI We Wouldn't Be Here

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Brown Reporter mike.brown@trinitymirror.com

A FATHER and son who survived for 40 minutes in the sea after being thrown from their fishing boat say they owe their lives to lifeboat crewmen.

Neil Westmorland and his son Daniel were thrown from their boat, the Ann West, while fishing three miles off the coast of Redcar after a freak engine accident on Saturday.

But they were saved by off-duty RNLI crewman Cameron Bond who responded to a Mayday call - after their boat, which was circling near them for 40 minutes, ran out of petrol and Daniel, 27, was able to get back on board.

Neil, 53, said: "I thought that we were going to die. If it wasn't for the RNLI, we wouldn't be here today to tell the story. It was terrifying. They deserve so much credit for what they did."

Neil and Daniel, of Darlington, were three miles offshore when their boat's outboard engine - which was being used for the first time after Neil replaced the old one two months ago - broke down.

As they were changing into waders to gut their catch, neither had on a lifejacket. And while they attempted to fix the engine, it restarted - in gear and set to full speed - immediately hurling both men into the sea.

Neil said: "I saw Daniel go straight over and I cartwheeled off into the water. I'm not a very good swimmer, so I didn't know how long I could last. I just tried to do a doggy paddle, and when I got tired just kick my legs to keep afloat.

"We got split up and that was the worst part. I thought my son might have drowned.

"But then I heard his voice shout and that spurred me on to keep going."

The fishing boat circled in front of the two men for 40 minutes until it ran out of fuel and Daniel was able to climb back in to send out a Mayday distress call at around 12.30pm.

Dad-of-three Neil had been carried nearly a quarter of a mile away by the tide. …

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