A 52-year-old sailor is lucky to be alive after he was found clinging onto the wreckage of his boat some 20 miles south of Weymouth during the early hours of this morning (Tuesday) after a major air and sea search was launched yesterday evening, as first reported by Island Echo.
In total two Coastguard Rescue Helicopters; two lifeboats from Bembridge and Yarmouth; a Royal Navy vessel; a Royal Navy helicopter and a French aircraft searched for several hours after a mayday call was picked up by a merchant ship at 17:00. A RAF rescue helicopter was called in to assist in the search, some 30 nm south of the Isle of Wight, however electrical storms prevented the Seaking helicopter carrying out the tasking from its base in Cornwall.
Amazingly, against all the odds, experienced sailor Mick Royton was found alive by HMS St Albans shortly after the large-scale search was called off at around 04:00 this morning. The discovery of Mr Royton hanging on for his life prompted the launch of a third lifeboat from Weymouth RNLI to the scene. The volunteer crew rescued Mick and took him ashore where he was transferred to Dorcester hospital suffering with the early stages of hypothermia.
The Royal Navy have released a thermal imaging photograph of the rescue, which shows the difficult situation Mick Royton was in. Mick has tonight said “I thought my time was up”.
Photograph: Royal Navy