The British Coastguard received a Mayday call at 3 p.m. last Sunday on VHF channel 16 from a man on Gun Smoke, a 27-foot sailboat reporting a man overboard, according to a Sail-World.com report.
The two men were in the Bristol Channel about 5 miles south of Rhoose Point near Swansea, England when one of the men was hit by the boom and knocked into the water as they were jibing. The remaining man on board notified the Coastguard, who sent out a Mayday relay, to which six surrounding boats responded. A rescue helicopter and lifeboat was deployed from Barry, South Wales and a second lifeboat from Minehead, Somerset was requested to launch, according to the report.
The man overboard was discovered by the helicopter, wearing his life jacket, but clearly unconscious. The man was hoisted into the helicopter and was taken immediately to the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff. The man was declared dead upon arrival.
“This has been a tragic incident, which should have been a pleasurable day’s sailing,” said Arwyn Williams, from the Swansea Coastguard, in the report.
Officials remind boaters to always wear life jackets and adhere to safety procedures at all times when operating a vessel.
— Elizabeth Ellis