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Teenager, 18, feared dead after dinghy is blown out to sea

What Happened
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Causal Factors
Insufficient ability
Injury Details
Accident suspected

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Description of Incident
A 18-year-man was tonight feared dead after an inflatable dinghy was blown out to sea by "hellish" winds.

Lifeguards said the rubber boat was seen "cartwheeling" across the waves shortly after the man disappeared off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, last night.

Coastguards said the missing man, who was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, could not swim.

Emergency service workers said the man was with his 10-year-old brother when the inflatable was swept away.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Lifeguards at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk search for a missing 18-year-old boy swept out to sea on a inflatable dingy

The youngster swam about 500 metres to shore to raise the alarm after the boat capsized, coastguards said.

'They got into trouble because the off-shore winds were absolutely hellish,' said lifeguard Rory Abel, 18.

'Witnesses told us they had seen these two boys in a dinghy and it had blown out about 500 metres to sea.

'They had either fallen or jumped out and after that the dinghy cartwheeled across the water.'

He said the man and his brother had been on an area of beach not patrolled by lifeguards.

Coastguards called off the search early today after finding no trace of the man, thought to come from Norwich, or the dinghy.

Lifeguards said the 10-year-old boy swam back to three of his other brothers flying a kite on the beach.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

The area where the teenager went missing on the North side of Britannia Pier

The boy and his brothers on the beach, thought to be aged between 11 and 21, underwent hospital checks.

Mr Abel added: 'They were obviously a bit emotional, so we were trying to calm them down.'

Coastguards received a 999 call at about 5.40 pm from a member of the public who saw the youth being thrown into the sea.

Five lifeboats from Gorleston, Caister and Hemsby were searching for him along with an RAF Sea King rescue helicopter.

Mario Siano of Yarmouth Coastguard said: 'We have been concerned throughout the day that inflatable toys would be blown out to sea with people on them in these strong offshore winds.

'Despite a major search by many rescue workers today, tragically, our worst fears appear to have been realised. Our thoughts are with the family of this young man.'

A helicopter from RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, had rescued two other boys blown out to sea on a blue inflatable dinghy at Great Yarmouth earlier that afternoon.
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Location of Incident

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