Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Teenager rescued after Facebook SOS

The 18-year-old managed to post a call for help on Facebook

An "extremely lucky" teenager has been rescued at sea after making a plea for help on Facebook.

The 18-year-old man ran into difficulties after his dinghy capsized off Mevagissey in Cornwall last night.

Although his phone was too wet to make a 999 call, he was able to post on Facebook, telling friends and family that his Laser sailing craft was in trouble.

His mother spotted the post and called police, who in turn got in contact with Brixham Coastguard.

The youngster was found in the water half a mile out to sea by an inshore lifeboat, pulled on board and later taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro to be checked.

Andy Huber, watch manager at Brixham Coastguard, said: "This young man was extremely lucky to be found when he was.

"He told rescuers that his mobile phone had got wet and he couldn't make a 999 call to the Coastguard.

"However, he did manage to post something on Facebook.

"He also told lifeboat crews he had been in the water for two hours and was trying to swim back to shore, even though he did not have a buoyancy aid or lifejacket on."

Mevagissey and St Austell Coastguard rescue teams, the Fowey RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats, police and the ambulance service were all mobilised for the rescue.

Mr Huber said that those heading out on the water should carry a VHF radio, a charged mobile phone in a waterproof bag, distress flares and an emergency beacon.

"These will all help you alert the Coastguard if you're in trouble, and a much more reliable way than posting for help on social media," he added.

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