A pensioner has died of a heart attack after falling out of his dinghy while sailing.

Seventy-one-year-old Edward Scott, of Elmfield Road, Cross Hills, died in the ambulance after being rescued by coastguards between Fleetwood and Knot End, Lancashire.

A member of the public called 999 after seeing the pensioner clinging to the side of the boat on the River Wyre, at 2pm, on Sunday.

The Knott End coastguard general purpose boat, which was exercising in the area, went straight to the scene and took Mr Scott ashore to a waiting ambulance. While in the ambulance, he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Coastguard Mike Roberts, watch manager at Liverpool, says: "Our sympathies are with the man's family at this time and as yet we have no idea why he had fallen into the water.

"We would also like to commend the first informant for being alert to the man's predicament and calling 999 and the coastguard straight away.

"We would stress the importance of the 999 system in alerting the coastguard as every minute counts while the temperature of the water is so cold at this time of year, and hypothermia can set in very quickly.

"The member of the public who called us can be assured that his actions enhanced any chances the man may have had for survival which, unfortunately, was not successful on this occasion."

Mr Roberts said that there had initially been concern for the pensioner's family as it was thought they were on the boat with him.

Two more lifeboats were launched from Fleetwood but the search was called off when police found Mr Scott's family on shore.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.