A TEENAGER has described the terror he felt as violent waves battered his fishing boat and caused it to capsize off Portland - as he paid tribute to the heroic skipper who saved his life.

Jordan Coulter and David Miller made a frantic scramble to survive after being thrown out of their boat in rough seas, and drifted around eight miles in an emergency life raft -

David having sustained a head injury - before being picked up by a Navy warship.

The pair had been out on a fishing trip near Portland Bill on Tuesday. They decided to make their way back to shore at around 8am, after about 30 minutes at sea, when conditions started turning.

Their boat - Ocean Echo - capsized after being struck by a strong wave, which threw them into the water, leaving them fearing for their lives.
Mr Coulter recalled the moment he and David were thrown into the sea and scrambled to stay alive. 

“We went out to sea and it was the same place we were at the day before”, he said. “We had a good time catching fishing and after a while, the weather started to get worse.

Dorset Echo: The boat and liferaft spotted in the water. Picture: Royal NavyThe boat and liferaft spotted in the water. Picture: Royal Navy

“We went to turn the boat to go back to the shore but as we turned, we were hit by a wave and it knocked us out of the boat.” 

Jordan, who had undergone water safety training, was able to stay afloat as he searched and waited for his skipper to surface.

A frightened Jordan said he could not see David for 60 seconds before he finally resurfaced. David and Jordan swam together as they clung onto their capsized boat. 

David found the boat’s life raft and spent several minutes trying to free the raft as he constantly checked Jordan was still afloat.

Jordan said: “He kept telling me to ‘hold on' and 'don't let go'. He saved my life and kept me calm. 

“Every time there was a wave coming, he was telling me to not to let go of the boat.” 
After spending several minutes in the water, David was able to get the life raft and helped Jordan onto it.

The pair spotted the nearby HMS Westminster and used multiple smoke bombs and flares in a bid to get the ship’s attention. 

Jordan said: “We had seen the warship and we were trying to get its attention. We shot flares into the air and used smoke bombs but they were getting blown into the wind so they could not see them. 

Dorset Echo: David Miller (left) with Jordan Coulter (right).David Miller (left) with Jordan Coulter (right).

“We fired our last flare and it thankfully got their attention.” 

The Royal Navy said HMS Westminster, a Type 23 frigate, covered five miles in 15 minutes to reach the vessel in ‘heavy weather and confused seas’ and deployed a boat to rescue the pair.

David, who had taken a blow to his head, was subsequently transferred to Dorset County Hospital by a Coastguard helicopter while Jordan was medically assessed and taken ashore. 

Jordan was desperate to see David, a man his father has known for more than 30 years, to thank him for saving his life. 

He said: “I wanted to see him in the hospital but we couldn’t because we were unable to mix in wards.

“I saw him on Wednesday where we had a hug and how thankful we are to still be here and alive. 

“He saved my life. He did not care about himself, he just wanted to make sure I was OK in the water.

"He is my hero.”

Jordan’s father, Graham Coulter, paid a tribute to his friend, adding: “I would like to thank David for his heroic efforts to bring my son home safe and for the work of the emergency services and Royal Navy to rescue them.”

A coastguard helicopter, RNLI lifeboat, coastguard rescue team and a Royal Navy warship all responded to the incident. 

A spokesman for the RNLI said: "One of the fishing crew had sustained a head injury so with the Coastguard helicopter on scene, he was airlifted from the lifeboat and transferred to Dorset County Hospital.

"The other casualty was taken back to Weymouth lifeboat station where he was handed into the care of the ambulance service."
Portland Bill and Wyke Coastguard Rescue Teams assisted rescue teams on land.

A South Western Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We were called at 9.01am to attend the lifeboat station at Weymouth following reports of an upturned vessel. One patient was transported to hospital by coastguard helicopter. We treated a second patient and transported them to hospital by land."