A profoundly deaf woman saved the lives of two stricken sailors after she heard their desperate cries for help – thanks to new HEARING AIDS she had fitted the day before.
Christine Bowden, 77, was in her coastal garden when she heard one of the men calling about half a mile out to sea.
She alerted her husband Marcus and they grabbed their binoculars and spotted an upturned dingy in the distance – but no sign of any occupants.
But the shouts continued so they raised the alarm and the RNLI scrambled two lifeboats.
Emergency services found one man in a life jacket desperately trying to swim back to shore and a second clinging to the hull of the upturned 10ft boat without a life jacket.
The first of the two was suffering from hypothermia and close to exhaustion when he was hauled from the water.
The second was also rescued and their boat was righted and towed back to the shore at Looe, Cornwall.
The lifeboat crew told Christine the men – two middle-aged holidaymakers – probably owed their lives to her and her two new hearing aids.
Christine, a retired secretary, said: “They were very lucky as I had just got my hearing aids.
“I only picked them up on Friday morning and this all happened on Saturday afternoon.
“I was virtually deaf before and had them for less than 24 hours.
“If it had happened the day before I may not have heard them – and who knows what would have happened.”
The drama happened on Saturday afternoon as Christine was outside her house which is around 500m from the water’s edge.
She added: “I was out in the garden when I heard one of them scream for help.
“My property is on the hill that looks down to the beach and I just heard this voice shouting for help. It was persistent.
“My husband Marcus and I got the binoculars out and saw the upturned dingy. We couldn’t see any bodies but still heard this man calling for help.
“We phoned 999 and got through to the coastguards and the RNLI sent the boats out.”
Husband Marcus, 68, a retired marine engineer, said: “I keep telling her to get hearing aids. Thankfully she finally listened to me.”
The lifeboat crew said one of the men was found clinging to his boat and suffering hypothermia and would not have held on much longer.
The second collapsed when he finally got to shore.
Dave Haines, Operations Manager of Looe lifeboats praised the couple’s actions.
He said: “This was a good shout and probably a life saved as the person not wearing the lifejacket said he couldn’t have held on for much longer.
“He was also suffering from hypothermia.”
The RNLI said the dinghy had capsized off Plaidy beach, East Looe.
A spokesman said: “After a brief search the stricken craft was found.
“One person who was wearing a lifejacket was picked up by a speedboat as he was swimming to the shore.
“The other male was found clinging to the upturned dinghy not wearing a lifejacket as it was inside the dinghy
“He was taken aboard the lifeboat and returned to the lifeboat station where coastguards were waiting.
“Whilst being helped ashore the person collapsed on the quayside and a ambulance was called.
“He was treated by a local doctor until the ambulance arrived.”
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