Storms cause disruption

THE Rye area has had a stormy start to the New Year with high winds causing damage and disruption on Tuesday.

Storm force winds, gusting at speeds of up to 55 mph, lashed the coast.

A fallen tree completely blocked Deadmans Lane at Rye for several hours on Tuesday while another fallen tree at Ham Street caused delays to some trains on the Rye line.

Tuesday’s rain and winds followed torrential downpours on New Years Day and there were large amounts of water forming on fields and low laying land but no reports of any flooding. The Environment Agency had no flood warnings in place for the Rye area on Tuesday.,

The stormy weather led to a dramatic sea rescue off the Rye area coast when lifeboats launched to go to the aid of the crew of a sailing boat who got into major difficulties at 5.30am.

The aptly named Liquid Vortex suffered broken steering and other problems off Dungeness Point.

RNLI press officer Judith Richardson said: “It was pretty horrendous out there. Our crew got up alongside ‘Liquid Vortex’ and our duty coxswain, Mark Richardson, made three attempts to transfer a lifeboat crew member across to them. Their aim was to attach a tow line, but the conditions were just too rough and dangerous to make the transfer. It was blowing Storm Force 11 at the time, so one can only imagine how it felt for those onboard the training vessel.

“The crew reported that of seven people aboard only one was in a fit state to assist with the transfer – the remainder were injured or suffering severe seasickness.

“Our crew eventually managed to transfer a crew member across and attach a tow line.

“RAF Rescue helicopter 125 was dispatched to the scene. A paramedic was winched down onto ‘Liquid Vortex’ and airlifted four of her crew for further medical assistance. The remaining three crew aboard the vessel were towed into Ramsgate where a medical team was waiting to provide assistance.”

RNLI divisional inspector Allen Head said: ‘The volunteer lifeboat crews showed no fear in launching in what were horrendous conditions to assist this vessel.

“Those aboard certainly had a baptism of fire, being out in such weather, but our crews did everything possible to bring them ashore safely.

“On a day when thousands of people were returning back to work and their daily routines, our crew were out doing what they do best – saving lives at sea.”