Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station

Man rescued from burning yacht in major RNLI and RAF rescue mission

The burning yacht and Hartlepool RNLI lifeboats. Pic by Mark Taylor

A Man was rescued from a burning yacht this morning by an RAF rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer as three RNLI lifeboats from Tynemouth and Hartlepool  also launched to go to his rescue.

The alarm was raised just before 6am when the lone skipper of the 36 foot yacht Julia made a distress call to Humber Coastguard, before abandoning his vessel into a life raft. The vessel was 15 miles east of Seaham.

The RAF helicopter reached the man first and winched him from the raft, shortly before Tynemouth and Hartlepool all weather lifeboats arrived on scene. Hartlepool’s B-class inshore lifeboat was also launched.

The casualty, from France, who had been sailing from the Tyne to Ijmuiden, was flown by the helicopter to shore at Seaham where he was met by members of Seaham Coastguard Rescue Team. He was shaken but otherwise unharmed.

The lifeboat crews stood by, unable to prevent the yacht from burning to the waterline.

Tynemouth lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station, arriving at 8am, while the Hartlepool lifeboats recovered the life raft including some of the yachtsman’s personal possessions.  It had been intended to tow the remains of the yacht back to shore to prevent it from becoming a hazard to other vessels but it eventually sank. The Hartlepool lifeboats then returned to station.

Lifeboat: 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland