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VIDEO: Teignmouth RNLI lasso out-of-control speedboat

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

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This was the dramatic moment a lifeboat crew stopped a runaway speedboat by lassoing it with a perfect rodeo-style throw.

Pensioner Peter Channing, 66, was trying to tie up his boat when he accidentally knocked the throttle and was thrown overboard.

Peter had already taken off his kill chord - a safety device that attaches to the skipper's leg and yanks out the ignition key if he falls in.

With the engine still running the six-metre speedboat, Lazydaze, began to circle Devon's Teignmouth Quay, threatening to cut Peter up with its propellers.

The frightening incident echoed the shocking death of TV executive Nick Milligan, 51, and his eight-year-old daughter Emily, who were both run over and killed by their runaway boat in May last year.

But before Peter could come to similar harm, onlookers threw him a line and pulled him to the safety of the dock.

An RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene to find the boat circling the bay and crashing into other vessels.

Helmsman Giles Squirrel pulled up as close as possible while crewmembers Adam Truhol and Jim Cassidy had a rope at the ready.

Video of the incident shows the pair lassoing the unnamed vessel at their first attempt before carolling it towards them and cutting the engine.

Peter, of Teignmouth, was unhurt but his prized boat was written off.

He said: "I briefly took off the kill chord and the engine suddenly sprang into life and I was over the side.

"My buoyancy jacket, which I always wear, inflated and I was drifting in the river.

"I thought my boat was going to the beach, but suddenly it reared up and started coming back towards me, bouncing off other boats.

"Luckily it missed me. I managed to get close to the shore when someone threw me a line to pull me in.

"Nobody was hurt and I suppose I can smile a bit about it now - but I will be more careful in future."

Nick Milligan and his wife Victoria had similarly taken off their kill cord when they thrown overboard attempting a tight turn in Cornwall's Camel Estuary.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch urged boat users to wear the safety devices at all times in the wake of the tragedy.

Andre Huber, Watch Manager at Brixham Coastguard, said last Friday's incident had been a lucky escape.

He said: "It appears the man took off his kill cord as it was too short to allow him to tie up his boat.

"Unfortunately, he accidentally knocked the throttle, the boat jerked forward and he fell into the water.

"Without the kill cord, the boat's engine didn't cut out and then locked into driving round and round in circles.

"Luckily he did have a lifejacket on and was able to quickly swim away to safety and the boat was soon brought under control.

"We always recommend people wear their kill cord at all times when on the boat.

"Make sure it's a suitable length so you can move around your vessel, particularly if you're on your own."

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