Mobile mast info saves pair in sinking boat

Mast info points coastguard in the right direction...

Mast info points coastguard in the right direction...

Coastguards have used information from mobile phone masts to save a man and boy on a sinking boat.

The pair made a "frantic" 999 call early this morning as their boat sank beneath them.

But because of the poor call quality the Orange operator was only able to tell the coastguard that a boat was sinking with someone on board - and when coastguards attempted to call the phone again, it went through to the answering machine.

But by using information from the mobile phone masts the authorities were able to acquire rough co-ordinates of where the man was calling.

The information revealed that the sinking boat was at sea between two mobile phone cells - Frinton Pumping Station and Holland on Sea.

The pair were found by a fishing boat and airlifted to hospital where they were found to be cold, tired and frightened but otherwise unharmed.

Thames Coastguard watch manager Simon Milnes said: "We are still collecting the facts on how and why this incident happened but we are very pleased to have found these two people alive - this could so easily have been a different story.

"We knew that they continued to attempt to make calls but that the signal was not strong enough. We are grateful to Orange for their assistance."