Gravesend RNLI towing the casualty vessel to Gravesend Credit: RNLI/Gravesend

On Thursday 2 May at 3.47am, Gravesend’s volunteer crew were called to a 12metre sailing yacht by HM Coastguard.

Thames Commander Andy Colley said:

‘This patch of the River Thames is a busy shipping channel with very large cargo vessels and could be a concern to navigational traffic.’

‘When tasked it was unknown if there were any casualties involved, but we arrived to find 5 persons on board and their vessel at anchor near the shipping lane.’

The Skipper of the vessel explained:

‘At first we lost power to the engines, we were unable to make way with sails due to no wind and when we were making contact with Port of London via radio, we were struck by lightning which took out all communications and power.’

RNLI’s Thames Commander Andy added:

‘There was a clear electrical burning smell so we advised for them to disconnect their batteries to prevent further damage or fire.’

Gravesend’s lifeboat crew then set up a tow to ensure their vessel was safe from further incidents and returned them to a place of mooring in Gravesend to find and fix the fault.

It’s understood the sailing yacht was the first vessel sent in advance on its way to London as part of a large flotilla from Belgium.

By Ed

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