Two Men Narrowly Escape Capsized Tug in Southampton

Photo: RNLI
Photo: RNLI

Two crew are lucky to be alive after narrowly escaping a capsized tug just before it sank Monday night in strong winds and poor visibility near Southampton, England.

RNLI and the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency report receiving a distress call at about 8:15 p.m. Monday saying that a commercical tugboat had capsized at the Fawley marine terminal in Southampton Water.

Volunteer lifeboat crews arrived on seen to find the tug Asterix overturned at the Fawley refinery and on the verge of sinking. One crewmember managed to escape the vessel and swim to safely. The tug was towed back to the Fawley jetty as a search of the nearby waters got underway.

According to RNLI, an emergency responder was watching the capsized tug from the refinery pier when he noticed an arm in a small air pocket through the window of the tug. The responder then jumped into the water, broke and extracted the trapped crewmember. The tug sank completely a short time later.

All three of the men, including the two crewmembers and the rescuer, were taken to a local hospital.

The search and rescue operation involved RNLI volunteers from Calshot, Cowes and Lymington, as well as the Fawley tug Ibex, Red Funnel’s car ferry Red Eagle and the catamaran Red Jet 4.

The MCA reported that the tug remained sunk as of late Monday night.

Weather on scene remained poor, with strong winds and low visibility. No pollution had been observed as of Monday night.