Eleven people – nine of whom were teenagers – have been rescued from the River Stour after two rowing boats and a safety boat capsized in inclement conditions earlier this morning.
Just after 11am today HM Coastguard and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service received multiple 999 calls reporting several people in difficulties at the Iford Bridge needing urgent assistance.
The casualties were reported to be either in the water, clinging to trees or on upturned boats in distress.
Lymington and Southbourne Coastguard Rescue Teams, the HM Coastguard Area Commander, HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter based at Lee-on-Solent, Mudeford RNLI inshore lifeboat, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset Police, South Central HART, Dorset Air Ambulance and South Central and South Western Ambulance Services were all sent to the scene and the rescue was co-ordinated by the National Maritime Operations Centre.
All casualties were recovered from the water, ten of whom were taken to hospital.
As a precautionary measure the HM Coastguard helicopter used its FLIR camera to carry out an extensive search of the area in case any further casualties remained in the water. The helicopter was stood down just after 12.30pm after it was confirmed that all casualties were safely accounted for.
Coastguard Rescue Teams gave additional support and safety advice on site after the incident.