Rescued yacht woman describes 'terrifying' sea ordeal

A woman who was in the sea for two hours without a life jacket after falling off a yacht near Cornwall has described her ordeal as "terrifying".

Prue Nash, from Hamble, near Southampton, went overboard about 50 miles (80km) off Lands' End as she returned from a regatta in Ireland.

She had to remove her life jacket when it became snagged under the boat after she went overboard on Sunday.

She said: "I really didn't think I was going to make it. It was terrifying."

Falmouth Coastguard was alerted to the incident at about 0100 BST on Sunday and launched a rescue helicopter and two lifeboats.

Ms Nash, a yacht broker, was operating the sails of the yacht, the Buccaneer, while it was returning from a regatta in Cork.

She was in a harness and a life jacket when she fell through a guard rail in force-six winds and heavy seas.

She had to take them off after they caught on part of the underside of the vessel, keeping her underwater.

After struggling free, she then had to tread water until she was rescued.

She was eventually picked up by an RAF rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor and flown to hospital. She was described as "uninjured" in the incident.

'Keep paddling'

Ms Nash said: "They couldn't believe that they found me still fit and well after two hours.

"I really didn't think I was going to make it. It was terrifying.

"It sounds really girlie and really silly, but I had a moment of talking myself into just keeping on paddling.

"Your arms get really tired and your legs really cold, but I said: 'Keep on paddling and they will come', and they did."

Henry Purbrick, of Falmouth Coastguard, said cold sea water and heavy conditions usually proved fatal if anyone fell in.

He said: "A lot of people who go in the water tend to die very quickly.

"The shock is enough to kill people, so the fact she survived says a lot for her skill."

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