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Father believed son drowned in freak boat accident
Updated 10:23am Monday 16th June 2014 in News
A FATHER last night re-lived the moment he believed his son had drowned after both were thrown overboard during a bizarre fishing trip accident.
Neil Westmorland, from Darlington, and his son, Danial, 27, were fishing for cod three miles off Redcar when their outboard motor failed.
As the pair leant out to try and fix it, the motor - still in gear and set at full throttle - burst into life and their craft shot forward, knocking both into the water.
Neither were wearing lifejackets and the exhausted pair were forced to stay afloat amid large waves for some 40 minutes until the circling boat finally ran out of fuel.
Danial, who lives in Newcastle, was able to climb back aboard and send a Mayday distress call but his father - who described himself as a "rubbish swimmer" - was swept a quarter of a mile away by the tide.
"All sorts were going through my head," said Mr Westmorland, 53. "Danial kept up with the boat and we lost sight of each other and I thought he had gone under. I thought that was it."
"I had been saying to him, I can't keep going much longer son. I can't swim very well - can't even swim a length - and I was trying to keep my head above the water but I was absolutely shattered.
"Then I couldn't see him anymore and I thought the worst. He thought the same about me. But then I heard him shouting to me, and so we kept shouting to each other.
"It was just going through my head that no-one knew where we were and we hadn't radioed a Mayday.
Both were taken to hospital suffering the effects of hypothermia after being rescued by a passing fishing boat and the Redcar lifeboat.
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