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Hurricane Bertha: Yachtsman killed after being hit on the head by boat's boom

Hurricane Bertha claims first UK victim as a yachtsman is killed after being hit in the head by a boat's boom in near gale-force winds

File photo: News of Yachtsman's death comes as the Met Office confirmed torrential rain brought by ex-Hurricane Bertha caused the wettest day of the year in the UK

By Keith Perry

4:58PM BST 11 Aug 2014

Hurricane Bertha claimed its first victim in Britain as a yachtsman was killed after being hit in the head by a boat's boom in near gale-force winds.

Coastguards, police and the RNLI scrambled to reach the injured crew member, who was onboard the yacht Remi, at Gurnard near Cowes shortly after 1pm on Monday.

Rescuers winched down onto the large yacht but the man was declared dead at the scene.

News of his death comes as the Met Office confirmed torrential rain brought by ex-Hurricane Bertha caused the wettest day of the year in the UK.

Huge rainfall totals and strong winds battered parts of Britain over the weekend, with severe conditions continuing in parts of Scotland.

Hampshire Police confirmed a man had died after suffering head injuries in a yachting accident after being hit by the boom on the private boat.

The coroner has been informed, a spokesman said.

Cowes lifeboat station duty officer Harry Leslie said the lifeboat crew worked with the coastguard helicopter and police to deal with the incident.

By the time the lifeboat arrived, officers from the police boat were already on board the yacht, which had been out cruising before the drama.

High winds led to the cancellation of some ferry sailings between the Isle of Wight and the mainland on Monday.

Mr Leslie said: "The casualty was assessed and taken ashore and landed at Trinity Landing, Cowes, where they were assessed by medical personnel on scene."

In a statement, the RNLI lifeboat station said the tragedy happened in the 'gale-tossed' Solent.

It said: "Cowes RNLI lifeboat was among rescue services that attended a large yacht in which a man was fatally injured in what was a near-gale south-westerly today.

"The alert was sparked by a ketch radioing Solent Coastguards shortly after 1 pm that a person had been seriously injured.

"The Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat, the police launch Commander and the Lee-on-Solent based rescue helicopter raced to the scene.

"A paramedic from the helicopter was lowered to the yacht, and after examining the man he was transferred to the police launch.

"This then took him to Trinity Landing, where an ambulance from St Mary's Hospital, Newport was waiting.

"Meanwhile the lifeboat escorted the yacht to Trinity Landing."

Cowes lifeboat returned to station at 2.20 pm.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the casualty had been 'struck on the head' by the boom.

A spokesman said: "A fatality occurred aboard a yacht in the Solent after a crew member was apparently struck on the head by the vessel's boom.

"Solent Coastguard received the Mayday call at 1255 BST.

"The police launch, Commander, the Cowes inshore lifeboat and the Solent search and rescue helicopter R104 were in attendance.

"The helicopter's winchman was lowered aboard and the casualty was declared deceased on the vessel by the SAR Paramedic.

"The casualty remained on the yacht to be taken to Trinity Landing at Cowes, where the vessel was received by a Coastguard rescue team and Hampshire Police. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed."

On Sunday, a Norwegian skipper was treated for arm and shoulder injuries sustained on a yacht as he headed home from Cowes week in fierce seas.

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