RNLI rescue

A Fleetwood kitesurfer feared he was going to drown as he was dragged beneath waves. But today Mark Taylor was able to thank the RNLI for his life after a dramatic rescue more than half a mile off the port.

"I really thought I was going to drown at one point," said Mr Taylor, 32, of Queen's Terrace, who was unable to re-launch his kite because of a loss of wind.

He got into trouble while taking part in the popular activity on Saturday afternoon and was ready to abandon his gear and swim back to shore. But he was unable to operate the quick-release mechanism on the leash attached to his board.

He said: "I couldn't get the kite to relaunch. The wind had dropped and there wasn't enough to get it out of the water and I was just being dragged along. It was dragging me under every now and again. I had to turn round in the water and kick my legs just to stop being dragged under".

"It must have been about 20 minutes before I was rescued and I was absolutely exhausted. I realised I was going to have to stop trying to release all the gear so I didn't use all my energy."

Sensibly the engineer had notified friends ashore of his whereabouts and the alarm was raised. Mr Taylor, who is to be married next year, added: "I heard the lifeboat flare go up so I knew help was on the way."

The inshore rescue boat, manned by Gary Randles, Tony Clark and Gavin Burke, was at Fleetwood Marina where it had towed a yacht which had broken down. It took them five minutes to reach Mr Taylor.

Lifeboat coxswain Paul Ashworth said: "He had not been irresponsible in anyway. But he told us he was sure he was going to die." As a bonus, the lifeboat was also able to bring his £700 worth of kitesurf equipment back to shore.

Kitesurfing is a popular activity at several spots along the Fylde coast. Mr Taylor added: "I won't be wearing a board leash again."

Source: The Blackpool Gazette

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