A MAN’S life has been saved by fishermen responding to a mayday call off a coastal town as lifeboat volunteers were en-route.

Harwich’s inshore lifeboat was requested by UK Coastguard just before 7am on Saturday after receiving a mayday call someone had fallen from their boat.

The mayday call - the highest priority call for assistance – was made for Harwich’s lifeboat to search 2.5 miles south east of Landguard Point, Felixstowe.

However it was a crew onboard a fishing vessel who heard the man overboard call who were on hand to respond the quickest.

The skipper of the boat, Peter Caunter, said: “We were in the vicinity of the position given, approximately 1.6 miles from us. We made best speed and, arriving at the scene, found a small angling vessel with one man on board and another in the water beside the vessel.

“We tied alongside and my two crew members went aboard and between the three of them managed to get the casualty aboard who was very cold and semi-conscious.

“As the lifeboat was only minutes away, the casualty was wrapped in a thermal blanket in readiness for a transfer.

Once the lifeboat was on scene, the casualty’s condition was assessed by an RNLI casualty care trained crewmember who deemed it necessary to request an ambulance to meet them at Harwich’s Ha’Penny Pier.

From here, the man was transferred to the care of paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service.

Harwich RNLI lifeboat operations manager, Peter Bull, thanked the crew of the fishing boat.

He said: “Many aspects to this incident contributed to a good outcome - the casualty wearing a lifejacket, the lifeboat crew’s training, but the overriding factor must be the quick response to the mayday call from Peter and his crew.”

“I’d like to add that RNLI volunteers give up their bank holiday weekends to be on call for emergencies like this and I’d like to thank them for the commitment and dedication they give to the RNLI, often having to leave their families to help others.”

The RNLI urges people to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard before attempting to help someone in trouble.