Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth rower rescued during Force 12 storm

A man who fell out of his dinghy after rowing out of Portsmouth harbour during a storm with Force 12 winds has been rescued and airlifted to hospital.

Police and Solent Coastguard were alerted when they received a call from a sailing club in Gosport.

Brian Taylor, coastguard watch assistant, said: "He went out with 60 knots of wind around his ears."

The victim, who was suffering from severe hypothermia, was airlifted to Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra hospital.

"We don't know what he was trying to do but it's not very sensible during a Force 12 with storm force winds of up to 62 knots an hour," Mr Taylor said.

"By the time he was found he had spilled out of his dinghy.

"He was very confused and is now in a pretty bad state."

David Williams, watch manager at Solent Coastguard later said: "We now know that this rower was in transit to or from his yacht in his dinghy.

"This is often a hazardous task and not something that we would recommend in such harsh weather conditions."

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