Couple forced to jump from burning yacht to safety

RNLI picture of the rescue from the burning boat
RNLI picture of the rescue from the burning boat

A couple were forced to leap from a burning yacht onto a passing motorboat after its engine erupted into flames.

Smoke was seen coming from the engine room of the 31ft vessel at about 6.30pm on Saturday when it was outside the entrance of Poole Harbour in Dorset.

The man and woman on board immediately issued a mayday call, with a second call stating that they could see flames and were abandoning ship.

Two lifeboats launched and found the couple had been able to jump onto a passing motorboat and were safe.

A spokeswoman for the RNLI said: "There were a lot of vessels in the vicinity so the lifeboat crew moved vessels away, securing the area around the burning boat, cordoning it off.

"They transferred the casualties from the motorboat on board the lifeboat, they assessed the situation, establishing how much fuel was on-board and if there were any gas bottles or anything else inflammable.

"The all-weather lifeboat swiftly arrived and was preparing its salvage pump and fire hose, the crew began to douse the fire down, the vessel was drifting north east."

The couple, who were uninjured, were taken back to Poole Yacht Club.

Their vessel was towed back to the yacht club, where members of the fire service were standing by to check it over.

Gavin McGuinness, volunteer senior helmsman, said: "The boat on fire required immediate action, as it was a hazard to shipping.

"It could have been an environmental issue if it had gone down. There were a lot of vessels in the area who were also at risk if the fuel or canisters had gotten alight."