Created: May 21, 2022 07:55

Robert Lambe (file photo)

A fisherman made an unusual catch this week when he rescued two men who were adrift after their boat sank off the island.

Last Chance Fisheries’ Robert Lambe – who himself was rescued at sea nearly 20 years ago – said yesterday: “It’s a joyful thing when you help someone in a situation like this.

“Someone came to get me. I’m glad I could come and help someone else. I’m glad I could do that.

Mr Lambe said Thursday afternoon he was returning home on his boat Last chance after a day of fishing on the Challenger Bank when he received a call from a friend who had seen debris in the water.

“He said he saw a gas tank and a cooler,” he said. “I thought it was weird, but maybe he jumped off someone’s speedboat on his way home.

“But my friend said the cooler had bait, ice and drinks in it, so I knew it was no good.

“We looked around for a few minutes and saw nothing, so I went to get a fixed mooring and after about an hour I heard someone shouting.

“At that moment, I knew something was wrong. I left the anchorage and started heading in the direction of the sound and called Harbor Radio.

Mr Lambe said that after he was unable to find anyone, he called Harbor Radio again to ask them to direct further help before it got dark.

“I hadn’t even left the mic with him when I saw the person,” he said. “He was about a mile from me, so I walked up to him and saw him, and he had another person with him.

“They were tired. I pulled them into the boat, put them in the cockpit and they thanked me.

“I told them that I had already been there. I knew what it felt like. Do not worry. Everyone is safe now, let’s go home.

Have you been rescued?

Were you one of the men rescued this week? We would love to hear from you. Please email [email protected] or call 278-0146.

He said the men told him they started heading home after their boat started taking on water, but they ran out of fuel.

Although the men were able to don life jackets, they were unable to radio for help before their boat sank beneath the waves.

Bermuda Maritime Operations said in an incident report that the sunken ship, the Haley Roseausank between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m.

The report indicates that the rescue coordination center at sea received a call from the Last chance about what appeared to be someone in the water around 5:45 p.m.

“A Royal Bermuda Regiment Coastguard vessel is to proceed to the scene immediately in view of the uncertainty of the situation and the possible need for a maritime search,” the report said.

“A few minutes later, the Last chance confirmed the location of one individual in the water followed shortly thereafter by the location of a second person swimming nearby.

The report adds that the “very lucky crew” were uninjured in the incident and did not require medical treatment.

Mr Lambe said he himself was rescued in 2003 after his 41ft boat was hit by a rogue wave and sank in heavy weather around 80 miles northeast of the island.

Law of the Sea: US Navy doctors and corpsmen aboard the USS Comfort examine Bobby Lambe after his ship sank due to rough seas near Bermuda and he was recovered 80 miles away north of Bermuda on January 10, 2003. On Thursday May 19, 2022, Mr Lambe rescued two men on their way back to the island after a day of fishing at Challenger Bank, about 30 miles south of Gibbs Lighthouse Hill (Photograph by Reporter 2nd Class Ellen Maurer/US Navy)

He survived in the water for 20 hours without a life jacket by clinging to a piece of wood until he was found by the US Coast Guard.

Mr Lambe was later picked up by the US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort where he was treated. The ship was en route to the Persian Gulf at the start of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003

“I was in the middle of the ocean with nothing around, no one to talk to, no life jacket, nothing,” he said. “I was just hoping the EPIRB would go off and someone would come get you, a helicopter would come find you. It’s nice to be on the rescue side this time around.