Sailors from a Royal Navy air defence destroyer have rescued four people after their yacht began to sink off the Isle of Wight.
HMS Diamond had just left Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, on Thursday when it answered a mayday call.
A civilian yacht, sailing from Beaulieu River in the New Forest to Honfleur in France, had sent out the distress signal after it started taking on a “significant” amount of water.
The crew of the Type 45 destroyer co-ordinated the rescue operation with Newhaven and Bembridge RNLI crews as well as a French coastguard helicopter.
They scrambled the warship’s sea-boat to the yacht and picked up four of the five crew who were brought back to Diamond to be checked over by medical staff.
They were then taken to hospital by the Newhaven lifeboat.
Three of Diamond’s sailors then went back to the yacht and helped the boat’s skipper to stabilise the vessel and sail it back to the UK.
Diamond’s commanding officer, Commander Peter Barfoot, said: “When the yacht sent out her distress call, Diamond was in the vicinity and therefore able to respond in a timely manner.
“The ship’s company were able to evacuate and disembark the crew who needed medical assistance.
“At the same time some of the ship’s specialists were able to embark and provide essential support to the yacht’s skipper which ultimately prevented the vessel from sinking.
“In arduous conditions, working without respite, members of my ship’s company saved the lives of five sailors and ensured a vessel was not lost.
“This is in keeping with the finest traditions of the service and I could not be more proud of my team.”
HMS Diamond left Portsmouth yesterday to join up with HMS Queen Elizabeth for operations in northern European waters as part of a Carrier Strike Group.