Woman recovers after seven hours under boat

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A FEMALE sailor, believed to be from London, was recovering in hospital yesterday after surviving a seven-hour ordeal trapped under the hull of an upturned boat.

Heidi Bell, 27, was with two companions sailing from Poole in Dorset to Chichester, West Sussex, when a freak wave overturned their trimaran, the Triharda, near the Needles off the Isle of Wight.

The skipper was thrown clear and a second woman was able to cut her safety line and escape the tangle of sails and rigging to cling to the hull. But Ms Bell was left stranded in the cockpit in a pocket of air.

As that gave out, she moved inside one outrigger and clung to furniture, breathing air trapped inside the 27ft section.

Petty-Officer Air/Crewman Adrian Rogers, who made an unsuccessful dive to try to rescue her, said that Navy colleagues 'went under the boat and carried air to the girl and brought her out. She had almost used all the air inside the boat by then.

'She was very cold and frightened, having been in the dark for hours. She coped very well really.' She was treated for hypothermia.

A canoeist drowned yesterday after getting into difficulties on the fast-flowing river Teifi at Pentre-cwrt, near Llandyssul, Dyfed. The body of the man, who has not yet been named, was recovered by firemen.