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Warning to sailors after stranded crew is rescued from River Mersey
WIRRAL sailors are being urged to ensure they are properly equipped when setting out on the River Mersey after three men were left stranded during a fishing trip.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service's Marine Rescue Unit was alerted by Liverpool Coastguard to a report of the three people in distress in the early hours of Christmas Eve.
They crew, who were in their 30s and from New Brighton, was drifting helplessly after the boat had had been moved by the rising tide shortly after the three men had started their fishing trip.
In a successful attempt to aid rescuers, the crew of the small craft managed to grab a passing buoy close to New Brighton as they were being swept away by the tide.
They clung to the buoy, which was around mid river between the Wirral and Liverpool shoreline, while sitting in their boat for more than three hours.
The crew, who were suffering from the effects of cold and exposure, were rescued and returned to the River Mersey Community Fire and Rescue Station at the Pier Head in Liverpool for treatment and assessment by paramedics.
Following the incident, HM Coastguard is advising people to ensure they have life jackets as well as being appropriate equipped including an appropriate means for raising the alarm.
Ian Kay, team leader of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Marine Rescue Unit who attended the call-out, said: "The small unpowered inflatable rubber boat was being buffeted by the wake from passing commercial traffic and the men were trying to gain attention from passing ships by flashing a small torch.
"The occupants of the craft had no safety equipment onboard, other than a mobile phone, no water proofs and no life jackets or radio.
"Their battery was dying on their mobile phone they had which they managed to use to contact the Coastguard before the battery died.
"The River Mersey is a working commercial port with a tidal flow exceeding 10 knots in places.
"Operating this type of craft in this environment was extremely dangerous. It was really lucky that there were still three men in the boat when we arrived after we got the call.
"On this occasion the crew of the stricken craft acknowledged that they have had a lucky escape and thanked all agencies for their quick response."