One man was dragged underneath the Dorset chain ferry when his dinghy's engine failed in its path

Two men had a lucky escape after their 8ft inflatable dinghy collided with Poole’s chain ferry, causing one of them to be dragged underneath.

Portland Coastguard
received several 999 calls on Friday evening reporting that a small grey
inflatable dinghy had suffered engine failure whilst in the path of the
Sandbanks-to-Studland chain ferry.

The two occupants had been caught out by the strong tide and were unable to start the engine in
time, causing it to collide with the chain ferry ‘Bramblebush

The two men were thrown into
the water; one grabbed the
lifeline on the chain ferry and was recovered by people on board,
the other was swept under the ferry.

He was rescued from the water by a passing
38ft yacht.

Both Poole RNLI All Weather Lifeboat and Poole RNLI Inshore lifeboat
were diverted from another job, so were able to get to the scene quickly with
Coastguard Rescue Officers from Poole. 

The inshore lifeboat went
to the yacht and transferred the casualty onto the lifeboat, he was
‘shaken up and wet but otherwise okay’, they landed him at North Haven
steps and a crewman took him ashore and stayed with him.

volunteers recovered the other casualty from the ferry and checked him
over, he was also okay and landed ashore.

The dinghy was stuck
under the ferry, preventing the ferry moving. The lifeboat crew tried to
secure a tow but it was not budging. They tried to use a spike
to work it free, but as this was happening it washed itself free. The
inshore lifeboat recovered it from the water and brought it ashore.

Gavin McGuinness, RNLI volunteer helmsman said: ‘Fortunately
for the man swept under the ferry his lifejacket did not inflate, it
brought back memories of a previous shout in 2001, where a lady was
swept under the ferry in similar circumstances.

‘With the strong flood
tide and challenging conditions, they were extremely lucky.’

Lessons learned

Davey, Portland Coastguard watch manager said: ‘The two
men were very unfortunate that their boat broke down where and when it did.

this kind of situation quick communications are key and so a handheld VHF
radio, mini flares or a mobile phone in a waterproof bag would have proved
invaluable in contacting the Coastguard and requesting immediate assistance.’

Pictures: Poole chain ferry. Credit Twitter/@LCN89; a RNLI lifeboat in action