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LIFE-SAVERS: The Bridlington fishing crew who pulled two men from the freezing sea

Skipper Rich Stephenson with Jake Hanson, Mike Cawkill and Jack Wright
Skipper Rich Stephenson with Jake Hanson, Mike Cawkill and Jack Wright

Meet the crew of Bridlington trawler Tradition who saved the lives of two fellow fishermen by pulling them from the sea when their boat sank.

They answered an emergency call, after a coble began taking on water six miles off the coast, arriving before the lifeboats and a rescue helicopter.

The casualties had been in the freezing water for around eight minutes, and skipper Rich Stephenson said the outcome could have been very different if they had not been close by.

Rich said: “We were still fishing and we heard a Mayday call on the radio so I went back into the wheelhouse.

“I could hear it was from the Boys Own, which I knew was run by two Filey lads, but we couldn’t hear their position properly.

“The coastguard called us up because they were tracking us and could see we were in the vicinity.

“We were just over two miles away so we gave it full throttle.

“We had eyes on the boat but lost sight of it when we got about half-a-mile away.”

The fishermen from the coble had thrown their crab pots overboard and put life jackets on and kicked off their boots when they realised the situation was getting serious.

The Bridlington lifeboat had launched but it was Tradition which was best placed to carry out the rescue.

Rich said: “When we found the lads, they were treading water. It was freezing and they were very cold. They had been in the water for seven or eight minutes.

“As we got on the scene, the helicopter arrived but my crew pulled them in.

“It was quicker than waiting for somebody to be winched down, and by that time hypothermia would have set in.
“They were just glad to see us and went to get warm in the cabin. We had some spare clothing and sleeping bags on board.

“The fishing community is very close-knit and we all look after each other.”