Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall thanks rescuers

River Cottage chef got in hot water fishing off Beer as coastguard and Sidmouth Lifeboat rushed to his aid

HUGH Fearnley-Whittingstall thanked coastguard and Sidmouth Lifeboat rescuers who rushed to his aid when a fishing trip with his son ended up on the rocks.

The River Cottage chef was left in hot water when his 19ft boat broke down and was washed into a precarious position near Beer Head on Monday afternoon.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall dialled 999 at around 3.50pm as the stircken vessel balanced precariously on rocks near the eastern end of Branscombe beach.

Rescuers arrived to find the fishing boat being buffeted in the surf and apparently taking on water.


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Naomi Firth, 31, one of the five-strong Sidmouth Lifeboat crew despatched to the scene, swam to the chef’s boat and attached a tow rope before the vessel was winched ashore.

Sidmouth Lifeboat’s Mark Roden said crew members were alerted to the situation by Portland Coastguard at around 3.55pm and the boat was launched within ten minutes.

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The lifeboat was at the scene, where a fishing vessel with two people on board was washed onto rocks near Beer Head, at 4.15pm.

He said: “After liaising with Beer Coastguard, the lifeboat identified the stricken vessel and arrived on scene at to discover it balanced precariously on rocks near the eastern end of Branscombe beach, just to the west of Beer Head.

“The vessel was being buffeted in the surf and was taking on water. It was as yet unclear if the hull had been breached.

“The two persons on board seemed uninjured and were wearing appropriate clothing including life jackets.”

“Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall was a bit embarrassed but these things happen,” said Beer Coastguard station officer Terry Hoare.

“He’s been back in touch with us and thanked us for all our help.

• Did you see the incident or do you have photos? Contact the Herald on (01392) 888501 or e-mail stefan.gordon@archant.co.uk.

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