Lifeboat crews rescue 16 people and three animals after boats run aground
Lifeboat crews have rescued 16 people, two dogs, and a rabbit after the group was stranded on boats in Norfolk.
Two lifeboats and a Coastguard helicopter were scrambled to Breydon Water at around 4.50am on Sunday after two cruisers ran aground on the River Yare at low tide.
Ten people had to be winched by the helicopter, while the rest of the group were rescued by boat.
Among those saved was a pregnant woman and also a six-month-old baby.
Marine engineers had initially tried to rescue the occupants, but were unable to on their own.
Lifeboats from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI then rushed to the trapped vessels.
Rescuers said the timing of the operation was “critical” due to an ebbing tide and because the boats were listing, meaning leaning, putting their those on board at greater risk.
The shallow waters meant the lifeboat could not get close to one vessel and an HM Coastguard helicopter was called in to assist.
Hemsby Lifeboat, which deployed a flat-bottomed boat used to navigate the Norfolk Broads and could handle the shallow water, was also called to help in the rescue and retrieved the young mother and baby off the stricken vessel before returning again for four others and the animals.
The group was then taken to Yarmouth Yacht station.
The helicopter winched those on the second vessel two at a time before dropping them off in a nearby rugby field.
Fortunately, no-one required hospital treatment.
One vessel had a damaged engine and will be recovered at a later time.
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