Warning as empty RIB circles at speed
THE RNLI has issued a safety warning after a father and son were thrown into the water from their boat – and it then continued to circle around at high speed with no one at the helm.
The RIB miraculously avoided contact with any other vessels or those in the water as it circled out of control on the Camel Estuary on Saturday.
A team from Rock RNLI team were called to the incident at around 11am upstream from the waterski area on the estuary.
A spokesman for the RNLI told the Cornish Guardian: "The RNLI crew's pagers sounded at 11.11am and the lifeboat was launched in a speedy three minutes thanks to some of the crew being close by the lifeboat station at the time.
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"The two men who had been thrown from the speedboat managed to swim towards the shore and were then picked up by another boat. RNLI volunteers Jinx Hewitt (helm), Paul Hancock and Leon Burt made it a priority to monitor the area where the speedboat continued to race round in 200-metre-wide circles, preventing other vessels from getting too close."
They also had to consider how best to stop the speeding vessel.
The crew decided it was unwise to attempt to board the RIB so were thinking through other ideas when it started to slow down and then stopped because it had run out of fuel for the 150 horse power outboard engine.
At this point the RNLI lifeboat crew were then able to tow the vessel safely back to Rock.
Mike Hewitt, RNLI lifeboat operations manager at Rock, says the whole situation could have been prevented if the driver had followed the charity's advice to always wear a kill cord.
"A kill cord is attached to both the driver and the engine and it literally kills the engine if one end becomes separated from the other," he said.
"It means when the driver was thrown from the speeding boat the link would have immediately broken and the engine would have come to an abrupt halt.
"This would have meant that the two people in the water would not have been in danger from the boat's engine, and neither would other boat users in the area or indeed the lifeboat volunteers who faced the challenge of trying to stop the empty vessel."
Mr Hewitt urged all RIB and speedboat crews to use the kill cord that comes with a new engine so that no one ends up being hurt in a tragic accident.