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Sunday, October 31, 1999 Published at 15:33 GMT


Yachtsman dies in 'horrendous' storm

Four men were rescued but one drowned

A teacher has died but four colleagues have been rescued after their yacht hit rocks off the coast of Devon during a force nine gale.

Maurice Parkin, 43, from Nailsea, near Bristol, drowned after the crew of the 30 foot sloop Kishmul were thrown into the water on Saturday evening.

Alf Tupper from Brixham Coastguards: "They didn't make the liferaft"
The ship was blown off course in "horrendous" conditions as it entered Plymouth Sound.

It hit a rock, the Shagstone, just two miles from the shore, and immediately began to sink.

The crew sent a brief distress message to coastguards before radio contact was lost.

Brixham Coastguard scrambled a rescue helicopter from the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose, and launched the Plymouth lifeboat.

Three men were winched from the water by a Navy rescue helicopter within an hour, and one was picked up later by coastguards on the shore line.

There was no sign of Mr Parkin, whose body was eventually spotted by the helicopter after the search resumed on Sunday morning.

'Frothing white water'

The five friends from Bristol, who were all male teachers in their 40s, had been returning to Plymouth after a half term cruise to the Channel Islands and the French port of Cherbourg.

All of the survivors were treated for shock, bruises and hyperthermia at Derriford Hospital, but were later released.

Lieutenant Darren Manser, 29, who piloted the rescue helicopter, said the weather conditions were terrible.

He said: "When we got to the search area there was frothing white water and the sea was quite churned up.

"The lifeboat directed us in but it could not get into the search area itself because of the state of the sea and the number of submerged rocks.

"The four who made it were very lucky to survive."

Staff and pupils at Mr Parkin's school are expected to be notified of his death when they return on Monday after half term.

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