A FISHERMAN has spoken of his terror after his boat capsized off the west coast of the Isle of Wight, plunging him and a crew member into the freezing cold sea.
Skipper of the 14m fishing boat, Chris Hubbard, 31, was in his sleeping bag as icy water filled the cabin of the vessel when it overturned just off Christchurch Ledge.
Chris managed to struggle free of the fishing boat’s cabin before he and his mate, Karl Scrivens, 49, managed to scramble into the life raft.
They were in the raft for around two-and-a-half hours before they were rescued by members of the Yarmouth RNLI Lifeboat.
The dramatic rescue began at 8.15am when members of the public called the coastguard to say they had spotted flares off the west coast of the Island, in the middle of Totland Bay.
The lifeboat and the coastguard helicopter were both deployed.
Chris said: "I am still shocked. It doesn’t seem real right now. I gather there was some weight on the port side and the weather and the tide turned us over.
"I was in my bed at the time and Karl shouted 'get out of bed’. As I did, I was pinned against the floor, which was the wall, and the opposite wall was the floor.
"Water started coming through a galley window on the port side and I was trying to get back up the entrance but it was too high. Clothes started falling out of the wardrobe and I managed to grab hold of a heater on the bulkhead and took a breath as water filled the cabin."
He added: "I struggled to get the door open under water — I imagine because of the pressure — but thank goodness on the third attempt I got it open.
"I had to get my bearings but I made it up to the surface and shouted to Karl. He was underneath the life raft so together we righted it and realised the situation we were in.
"The life raft was still tied to the boat so we had to cut it free because we were worried we might go down with her. I didn’t have time to grab clothes or a radio. I managed to grab three flares and that’s what we used to try to get someone’s attention.
"It was freezing cold in just my shorts and those were the longest two hours of my life. When I saw the lifeboat coming towards us, it was such a relief. I just thought 'brilliant, we’re saved'."
The two men spent around two-and-a-half hours in the life raft and both were suffering from mild hypothermia when they were rescued.
They were taken for a check-up at St Mary’s Hospital following their ordeal.
Coxswain of the lifeboat, Howard Lester, said: "This sounds like it was very frightening for the two men involved as it all happened so quickly. One minute the men were fishing and the next they were in cold water with their boat upside down. Fortunately, they were carrying the flares, otherwise they may have drifted in the life raft for a lot longer before being seen."