Video: Timeline and reaction to Lowestoft sea tragedy

A speedboat is recovered by coastguards and the fire service water rescue team. Picture: MICK HOWES A speedboat is recovered by coastguards and the fire service water rescue team. Picture: MICK HOWES

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
8:28 AM

Senior superintendent Tim Jenkins, port missioner for Lowestoft and East Anglia, was aware of the tragedy and said, while his main role was to look after the welfare of commercial fishermen, he was on hand to help if needed.

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Search and rescue off Lowestoft seafront.Search and rescue off Lowestoft seafront.

He said: “It seems the boat involved was a pleasure craft.

“As I am also chaplain of the Lowestoft lifeboat crew, I am paged each time the crew goes out and I will be available if I’m needed.”

The Rev Mark Capron, curate of Pakefield Church, said: “Our church at Pakefield looks out over the sea.

“It is at times like this that, as a community, we come together to pray, support and be alongside those who have been affected by this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Tragedies at sea

Eleven people died, including seven from Norfolk and Suffolk, when a helicopter flying between a gas production platform and a drilling rig suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure on July 16, 2002. A memorial service marking 10 years since the tragedy was attended by people from around the world.

Hundreds of people joined the search for Jodi and Tom Loughlin, aged six and four, after the pair went missing on Holme beach in August 1996. It was nearly two weeks before both the children’s bodies were recovered, when they were found washed up more than 30 miles away.

Surfer Steven Sparks, 33, drowned after getting into trouble when his board got tangled in a groyne off the coast near Lowestoft on April 3, 2012.

Christopher Vanstone, 49, drowned while shipwreck-diving 17 miles off Lowestoft with a friend on August 30 last year when he was unable to reach his back-up oxygen supply.

Walcott man Karl Hacker, 47, drowned after slipping off a coastal defence barrier as he walked home from the pub on July 6 last year.

Teenager Anadarajan Neelprasantha was swept to his death at Wells because he and his family could not read signs warning of the beach’s deadly currents. The 15-year-old and his family were among thousands of Sri Lanka Tamils making a pilgrimage to the shrine at Little Walsingham when the tragedy happened on July 8, 2007.

Five-year-old Jake Parker from Northamptonshire drowned after going missing from Brancaster beach on a family holiday in August 2000.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “This is a tragic event and my thoughts are very much with the family and friends of those involved. It is also important to recognise the efforts of all the emergency services who have attended this incident.”

Lowestoft Coastguard was alerted to a person and an overturned boat in the water near to Ness Point at about 2pm yesterday by someone in the Orbis building in Wilde Street.

At about the same time, a police officer was flagged down in Whapload Road by a member of the public, who reported they could see a person in the sea off Wilde Street, near to the sea wall.

The Lowestoft lifeboat was launched and the man was found near to the South Pier, having been carried south by the current.

The lifeboat crew administered first aid before transferring the casualty to the ambulance service.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) was called at 2.23pm and sent an ambulance, a rapid-response car, an ambulance officer, and East Anglian Air Ambulance to the scene.

The man was pronounced dead shortly afterwards and his body has been taken to the James Paget University Hospital.

A white boat was found following a search off the coast and debris from the boat was also discovered in the water, including two buoyancy aids, a seat and other equipment. The search was stood down shortly after 7pm and resumed at about 8.30pm.

A spokesperson for EEAST said: “Several ambulance resources were sent to the scene following reports that a man had been found in the water. Critical care paramedics and EEAST crews provided advanced life support to the man after he was pulled from the water.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, including the RNLI who provided initial life support, the man was declared dead. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.”

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Police are working to trace his [the casualty’s] next of kin and are also making inquiries to determine if he was on a boat that capsized and, if so, whether there was anyone else on board the vessel.”

HOW THE INCIDENT UNFOLDED

10am – The National Coastwatch Institute lookout station at Gorleston sees a vessel, believed to be the boat involved in the incident, leave Gorleston.

12pm – The Gorleston coastwatch station sees the same vessel at Corton.

2pm – The Lowestoft Coastguard receives a report of a man and an upturned vessel in the water near to Ness Point from someone in the Orbis building at Lowestoft.

2pm – A policeman is flagged down by a member of the public in Whapload Road, who reported seeing a person in the sea off Wilde Street, near the sea wall.

2pm – Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat is called out.

2.23pm – The East of England Ambulance Service Trust is called and an ambulance, rapid-response car, ambulance officer, and the East Anglian Air Ambulance are sent to the scene.

2.25pm – A man wearing a buoyancy aid is located in the water between the South Pier and Claremont Pier. A major search and rescue operation is launched, coordinated by Humber Coastguard.

3pm – The man is pronounced dead and taken to James Paget University Hospital.

7pm – A boat, thought to be a white speedboat, is located and brought ashore on Lowestoft’s south beach near to the Cefas building by one of the lifeboats. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service help to bring it ashore.

7.15pm – Humber Coastguard announces the search has been stood down unless new information comes to light.

8.30pm – The search is resumed amid fears that two people are still missing.

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