Warning to Boat Users as Three Go Missing off the Normandy Coast



Coastguards in Normandy have issued warnings to everyone taking to the sea in the current hot spell to take care and make sure they are well equipped.

The warning comes as a major sea search is underway off the west coast of Normandy after a man and two adolescents in an inflatable boat disappeared on their way back from a day trip to the Isles of Chausey.

The search has begun at 6pm on Sunday night after the inflatable, which had set off from Cancale on the Brittany coast heading for Chausey, failed to return.

It was one of a pair that was on a day trip to the islands off the coast of Granville in Manche which is very popular at this time of the year. A women in the second boat reported the other missing with a 31 year old and two teenagers aged 18 and 19 from Miniac-Morvan on board.

The regional search and rescue centre coordinated the rescue mission which included the Civil Security helicopter from Granville, lifeboats from Cancale and Saint Malo and the fire fighter boat from Saint Malo.

Just after midnight a Navy helicopter from Maupertus joined the search and at 1am the empty boat was found off the plateau known as the Minquiers about 18 kilometres south of Jersey and some way off the course they would have taken to return to Cancale. Later in the morning a maritime patrol aircraft from Guernsey joined the search.

It is the second rescue mission involving inflatable boats in and around Chausey in recent weeks. At the end of May one man died and another was rescued after their inflatable hit rocks off the main island of the archipelago.

Rescue officials warned that the area around the islands can be hazardous for inflatables, especially at low tide because of the rocks. If an inflatable is holed by a rock or strikes a rock the occupants can easily be flung into the water. Even in summer the sea is cold and that can affect a person’s ability to survive in the water.

Coastguards say that all sailors should check the weather forecast before embarking on any sea related activities and check the tide times of high and low water. At high tide around Chausey many of the rocks are hidden but are just below the surface.
Everyone should have life jackets, flares, a first aid kit, VHF radio, and navigational aids and have warm clothing as the weather at sea can change quickly.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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