Grandfather and grandson die after dinghy capsizes off North Wales coast

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Sunday, July 3, 2005

A grandfather and his grandson have died off the coast of North Wales, UK, after their sailing dinghy was overwhelmed and capsized in rough seas. They were with a party of four who had been angling from a 4.6 m boat.

At 4pm local time on Saturday the Holyhead Coastguard received an emergency call from the Star Reader saying they had found a capsized dinghy adrift three and a half miles north of Puffin Island, off the east coast of the Isle of Anglesey.

A third vessel, the Sara Jane, also attended the scene to allow a first aider on board to render assistance.

A RAF search and rescue helicopter was scrambled and the Beaumaris lifeboat launched to effect a rescue effort. Two people were found clinging to the boat but two more had been washed away. A rapid search recovered both of them.

The rescue helicopter lowered its winchman onto the dinghy to begin CPR on the nine year old boy before he was winched onboard. He was flown to nearby Bangor Hospital, but later died.

The Beaumaris lifeboat raced the grandfather - also suffering serious hypothermia - ashore to a waiting ambulance, but he too died shortly afterwards. The lifeboat also carried an uninjured member of the party ashore, while the helicopter returned to rescue a second young boy.

The father and a twelve year old boy survived. All had been wearing life jackets, but the sea was running at 1.5 m waves in a 45 km/h wind at the time.

It is believed the two dead had been in the water for at least three hours before they were recovered, and died from the effects of hypothermia.