Man Trapped in Capsized Tug for Hour

RNLI rescue

By Wendy Laursen 2015-03-31 17:29:23

A tug capsized at an oil refinery in Southampton, England, on Monday evening with one man trapped in the vessel for over an hour.

The tug, Asterix, attached to an oil refinery at Fawley, capsized and subsequently began to sink just off the refinery’s pontoon. 

One crew member managed to jump clear and swim to safety, leaving one man still unaccounted for.  

There were strong winds and poor visibility at the time of the incident. RNLI lifeboats from Cowes, Lymington and Calshot undertook a coordinated search of the windswept waters, and one lifeboat crew banged on the hull of the Asterix, still visible at this stage above the water, but received no response. 

A Fawley emergency employee who was watching the capsized vessel from the pontoon then just glimpsed an arm in a small pocket of air behind a window. Without hesitation the employee leapt into the water, smashed the window and extracted the trapped crew member. 

Both were evacuated from the water just before the tug sank. Both the rescuer and rescued, plus the man who had swum clear earlier, received immediate emergency care for hypothermia from attending paramedics. All three men were then taken by ambulance to hospital. 

The tug had been under tow to shallower water when rescuers realized the missing crew member was still inside.

Cowes lifeboat crew included Dr. Will King who helped provide medical care to two of the casualties. Joining the three lifeboats in the search was another Fawley tug, Ibex, together with Red Funnel’s car ferry Red Eagle and catamaran Red Jet 4.  

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is investigating the accident.

Picture credit: RNLI