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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Lifeboat tragedy remembered
George Elmy Lifeboat Way in Seaham
A lifeboat tragedy off the County Durham coast which claimed nine lives more than 40 years ago is being commemorated.

A new cliff top road overlooking Seaham is being named George Elmy Lifeboat Way, after the vessel which capsized only yards from the harbour on 17 November 1962.

The lifeboat was returning home after rescuing five people from a fishing boat.

The crew and four fishermen, including a nine year-old boy, lost their lives.

The new road is part of a 100m regeneration of Seaham after the closure of coal mines in east Durham.

The lifeboat was launched to rescue the fishing boat Economy, which was floundering in stormy seas, off Seaham.

Within minutes the lifeboat had rescued the five crew members.

George Elmy Lifeboat
The George Elmy Lifeboat was lost in November 1962

But less than 100 yards from safety, the lifeboat was capsized by two huge waves.

Of the 10 people on board, only 32-year-old Donald Burrell survived.

The miner wrapped his right arm around the propeller shaft and tried to hold on to his nine-year-old son, David, with the other.

But a wave wrenched the boy from his grasp.

The lifeboat was eventually washed ashore.

After the tragedy the public raised 47,000 for the families of the victims.

The recovered lifeboat was repaired and went on to save a further five lives while stationed at Poole in Dorset, until it was decommissioned in 1972.

Daring lifeboat crew honoured
14 Dec 02  |  England

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