Weymouth fishing skipper in Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons finals
A Weymouth fishing boat skipper has been named as a finalist in the Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2021 for saving the life of his crew member when their boat capsized after being hit by a strong wave off Portland Bill.
David Miller, 46, who had to free himself from the submerged wheelhouse before swimming to the surface to rescue his teenage crew hand Jordan Coulter, has reached the final four of the Act Of Courage category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the ‘Best of British’ heroes.
David will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5. The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden and Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honour.
David and Jordan were out fishing early in the morning when they decided to return to shore when conditions took a turn for the worse.
David said: “We got hit by a big wave and our boat, the Ocean Echo, capsized. I was trapped upside down in the wheelhouse. It was just like in the films like the Titanic when the cabin quickly fills up with water.
“I knew I had to get out but my main thought was for Jordan. This was his first season on the job and he had only been going to sea for about six months.”
David was first hampered by the fact that his life jacket had inflated inside the wheelhouse so he had to free himself from that before he could escape.
He said: “When we were going over I shouted to Jordan to hang on to the boat at all costs but I had no idea whether he had survived or had been swept away by the 10 to 15 feet waves that were crashing on the side of the vessel.”
But Jordan had managed to follow David’s orders to cling on and while he spent a terrifying 60 seconds holding on for his life he then saw David emerge from under the boat and, despite suffering a head injury, he managed to retrieve the life raft and drag Jordan on to it.
David said: “When I got out, I saw that Jordan had managed to hang onto the outboard, so that was a relief but when I went to get the life raft the tide had taken it away from us, so I had no choice. I had to get back into the water. I told Jordan if anything happened to me he just had to hold onto the boat, then I jumped back in.”
Jordan, who only weeks before had undergone water safety training, said: “He kept telling me to ‘hold on’ and ‘don’t let go’. He saved my life and kept me calm. Every time there was a wave coming, he was telling me not to let go of the boat.”
David added: “I was just in survival mode. My main thought was to keep Jordan alive,”
Once in the life raft they drifted for about eight miles before drawing the attention of the Royal Navy’s HMS Westminster by using multiple smoke bombs and flares. The navy ship covered five miles in 15 minutes to reach the pair.
David was flown to Dorset County Hospital by coastguard helicopter while Jordan was medically assessed and taken ashore. Jordan said: “David saved my life. He did not care about himself, he just wanted to make sure I was OK. He is my hero.”
David will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5. The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden, and Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honour.