Blazing yacht off coast sparks 'complex' search and rescue mission

Tenby lifeboat carried out the rescue 12 miles out at sea <i>(Image: Tenby RNLI)</i>
Tenby lifeboat carried out the rescue 12 miles out at sea (Image: Tenby RNLI)

A MAN was pulled from the water just yards from his blazing 35 foot yacht in a rescue mission out at sea yesterday evening, Saturday May 25.

Tenby RNLI lifeboat crew, who raced to the scene of the incident, 12 miles off the Pembrokeshire coast, found the yacht was ‘almost totally destroyed’ by fire.

The injured yachtman’s inability to say if there had been anyone on board with him then sparked an extensive search late into the night involving two lifeboats and two helicopters.

However, nothing was found.

Tenby RNLI press secretary Ben James described the search as ‘complex’ and hailed the operation as ‘a great multi-agency effort’.

Western Telegraph: The 35 foot yacht was on fire 12 miles out at sea.
Western Telegraph: The 35 foot yacht was on fire 12 miles out at sea.

The 35 foot yacht was on fire 12 miles out at sea. (Image: Tenby RNLI)

Tenby's all-weather lifeboat was tasked to launch just after 7pm, following a report of smoke sighted offshore by a member of the public at Stackpole.

The Haydn Miller was quickly on the water and as the volunteer crew rounded St Margaret’s Island, they spotted smoke on the horizon, some 12 miles south.

Mr James said: “On reaching the scene, they found a 35ft yacht which had been almost totally destroyed by fire and the occupant of the yacht in the water, barely afloat and disappearing under the surface.

“A crew member immediately entered the water to keep the casualty afloat, whilst the remaining crew readied to bring him aboard.

Western Telegraph: The smoke from the yacht could be seen fro the shore.
Western Telegraph: The smoke from the yacht could be seen fro the shore.

The smoke from the yacht could be seen fro the shore. (Image: Tenby RNLI)

“Once onboard, casualty care was administered, while the lifeboat made best speed to the harbour at Tenby, where multiple Welsh Ambulance resources were waiting.

“With the casualty unable to confirm if he was alone on the yacht or not, the lifeboat headed back to the scene to commence a search, where they were also joined by Angle all-weather lifeboat and Coastguard rescue helicopters from St Athan and Newquay in Cornwall.

Western Telegraph: The tracker shows the extent of the multi-agency search.
Western Telegraph: The tracker shows the extent of the multi-agency search.

The tracker shows the extent of the multi-agency search. (Image: Tenby RNLI)

“Having thoroughly searched the area for several hours in choppy seas and heavy rain and with nobody else reported missing, the search was brought to an end and all assets stood down.

“The lifeboat then returned to station, arriving just after 1am.

“We’d like to thanks our colleagues at Milford Haven Coastguard, Angle Lifeboat RNLI and Coastguard rescue helicopters from St Athan and Newquay for their help in this complex search and also to the Welsh Ambulance service.

“A great multi-agency effort.”