Neoprene saves the day after sailing teens go missing
by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 17 May 2011
Sending an important safety message to those making decisions about what to wear when sailing, neoprene - the fabric commonly used in the manufacture of wetsuits - has been lauded for saving the lives of two teenagers who were declared missing after going sailing in their hobie-cat off the coast of France.
A Channel Islands air-search plane, Lion's Pride, was scrambled from Guernsey at 1.10am to join the search last weekend, scouring around 150 square miles of ocean for five hours on Sunday. They were part of a joint operation with a French naval helicopter.
The two fifteen-year-olds had gone missing from a small port south of Carteret on the coastline of France.
After five hours of searching, the teenagers were found at 5.40am, clinging to their upturned hull, two miles off Denneville, having drifted southwards from their initial position. They were taken on board a local ferry and taken to Carteret, where they were driven by ambulance to the Valognes Hospital for treatment for hypothermia.
French rescue authorities said if the pair had not been wearing neoprene wet suits their chances of survival would have been considerably reduced.
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