Fisherman who fell overboard saved by clinging to nets

A fisherman survived falling overboard after he clung on to nets on the side of his boat for more than an hour.

Nathan Rogers was dragged along by his fishing boat for five miles before it crashed into the South Pier in Newlyn, Cornwall, on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Rogers had been adjusting his nets when he fell into the water while his boat, which was on autopilot, kept travelling forward.

An 11-year-old boy witnessed the boat crash into the pier and raised the alarm after seeing the fisherman clinging to his nets in the water some 27 metres behind his boat.

Picture supplied by RLNI of its lifeboat Ivan Ellen rescuing fisherman Nathan Rogers
Picture supplied by RLNI of its lifeboat Ivan Ellen rescuing fisherman Nathan Rogers

An RLNI lifeboat which was towing a broken-down crabber fishing vessel nearby picked up a distress message about the crash and dropped the tow to assist Mr Rogers.

The fisherman was found by the rescue team being held up in the water by the skipper of another boat, the Dream Catcher, before he was recovered and taken by ambulance to hospital.

Mr Rogers was treated for hypothermia before being allowed to recover at home.

Coxswain Patch Harvey, who was on the RNLI Ivan Ellen lifeboat, said Mr Rogers was “very lucky” to have survived.

He told the BBC: “How he held on for so long in those conditions I don’t know.

“If the boat was heading in the other direction he probably wouldn’t be here now.

“He just looked grey and was really cold.”

Mr Harvey said his lifeboat actually passed Mr Rogers’s boat while trying to reach the broken-down crabber, adding: “We didn’t know that he was in trouble but we passed him two miles farther south. It’s just a shame we couldn’t see him then, as we could have picked him out a little earlier.

“He was very, very, very lucky. He’s a popular guy and very experienced, so we’re just glad he’s alright.”