UPDATE: Huge rescue mission sparked after D-Day kayaks abandoned in bad weather

UPDATE: Huge rescue mission sparked after D-Day kayaks abandoned in bad weather

MISTAKE: A coastguard search was launched over the abandoned kayaks

The Normandy Klepper Challenge team for D-Day: Stuart Gilks, front left, and Richard Bentley, back row, Ben Collins, Colin Richardson, Matt Allmond and Dwayne Cadwallader

First published in News
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A KAYAKER has spoken out over a mix-up which sparked a massive rescue mission off Portland on Sunday.

A member of a group kayaking from Portland to France to raise money for charity and commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day said bad weather forced them to abandon their kayaks in waters off Portland.

The two empty kayaks sparked a large search mission spearheaded by Portland Coastguard, which included the rescue helicopter, Solent helicopter, Weymouth lifeboat and a local boat, as they feared people could be in the water.

It eventually emerged the vessels had been left by the Normandy Klepper Challenge team.

The coastguard confirmed the kayakers had informed authorities but the message wasn’t passed on.

Richard Bentley, one of the rowers involved in the charity challenge, said they would be making a donation towards the cost of the false alarm mission.

He said: “The water got rougher and rougher and it took us five attempts to get one canoe onto the support vessel.

"We tried to get another one on too but then that canoe was sucked away into the sea and when we looked starboard the waves had already thrown two of the guys out of the other boat, so we had no chance.

“We contacted the coastguard on Thursday morning to say there were two canoes lost and if anybody saw them to let us know, but I believe it was someone from the public who then called them later on.

“We did get an email from the coastguard on Sunday to say that they’d found the canoes and they were waiting to be collected.”

“We have decided to give some money to the RNLI as well as the other charities. It probably won’t pay for the whole cost of the callout but hopefully it will help.”

He added the challenge will be re-launched as soon as possible in honour of D-Day.

“We are just waiting for everybody’s availability and we’ll hopefully have that soon. Then we’ll be waiting for a ten day window of good weather to set off in.”

A spokesman for the coastguard said: “We didn’t know the kayaks were being left over by the D-Day kayakers.

“They had been left on Thursday night.

“It would appear they had informed someone but this didn’t filter down to the ops room and we weren’t aware until after.”

Comments (4)

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1:13pm Mon 9 Jun 14

notweymouth says...

Hopefully they phoned the coastguard and didn't just email them!
Hopefully they phoned the coastguard and didn't just email them! notweymouth
  • Score: 2

4:16pm Mon 9 Jun 14

weymouthfox says...

More well meaning amateurs. Rowing from Weymouth to France, but didn't get pas Portland lol
More well meaning amateurs. Rowing from Weymouth to France, but didn't get pas Portland lol weymouthfox
  • Score: 3

7:34pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Tinker2 says...

Guys, set the challenge to meet your skills and experience. The choice of kayak is also very questionable.
How about circuits round portland harbour, or Radipole lake?
Guys, set the challenge to meet your skills and experience. The choice of kayak is also very questionable. How about circuits round portland harbour, or Radipole lake? Tinker2
  • Score: 2

12:08pm Tue 10 Jun 14

elloello1980 says...

expected comments above from the armchair critics.

Fair play for attempting, it is possible.

As for making a donation, even though they had informed the authorities. very respectful
expected comments above from the armchair critics. Fair play for attempting, it is possible. As for making a donation, even though they had informed the authorities. very respectful elloello1980
  • Score: 8

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