Julie Newnham was taking her dog for a walk near Gurnard Luck on Saturday morning when she thought she could faintly hear shouting coming from well out in the Solent. She could then just make out in the distance two figures in the water, moving quite rapidly in the east-going tide.
She lost no time in calling 999 and telling coastguards what she heard and saw. As a result a Cowes Harbour Commission launch and Cowes RNLI lifeboat raced out of Cowes, as reported by Island Echo over the weekend. The anglers, aged in their 60s, were later found exhausted beside their capsized 12 foot fishing boat near West Bramble Buoy.
A Coastguard spokesman said although they received another report of two people in the water from someone on Lepe beach, it was Mrs Newnham who first brought the emergency to their attention.
Speaking about the 999 alert, HM Coastguard said:
“She did absolutely the right thing calling us, and she must have excellent hearing to have heard the men’s shouts from so far away. Quite amazing.”
Julie, who lives on Gurnard Esplanade, said,
“It was a very quiet day, with not much wind about and it probably helped I was very close to sea level”.
“It is not me who is the person who deserves praise for saving these men, but those who found them and brought them to safety.
“What concerns me is that there must have been others on the Solent shores who heard or saw something, including perhaps those on a passing coaster, but they apparently did nothing. People should never hesitate if they believed someone is in trouble on the water.”
UPDATE @ 10:51 – Kerry Hatch, daughter and granddaughter to the two men rescued on Saturday, has spoken of her appreciation to Cowes RNLI who helped in the successful rescue of her father and grandfather.
“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to the Cowes RNLI team from myself, brother, my mum and nan.
“If it wasn’t for you we would have lost them both, we wouldn’t have coped! So really there aren’t the words to explain how grateful we are that you were there.”