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Ramsgate RNLI and pilot boat rescue people from burning yacht off Kent coast

By Matt Leclere

Four people were rescued from a burning yacht which sank after catching fire.

The group were found in a life raft off Ramsgate by a pilot boat returning to the harbour at 12pm yesterday.

Ramsgate RNLI and the coastguard team from Margate were called to help the pilot crew bring the casualties to safety after their boat caught fire off North Foreland.

The burning vessel could not be saved by Ramsgate RNLI and help. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678698)
The burning vessel could not be saved by Ramsgate RNLI and help. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678698)

Lifeboat crew members battled to save the vessel for 45 minutes, which was well alight when they arrived, but the yacht could not be saved.

A coastguard spokesman said: "Thankfully the occupants knew how to use the radio and issued a mayday and also carried a personal locator beacon and life raft on board to help with the rescue of them."

The casualties were all checked over for injuries and although they were shaken up by the experience were given the all clear, the coastguard said.

The all-weather lifeboat from Ramsgate launched to rescue the people from the yacht and extinguish the fire.

Lifeboat crews and staff from the nearby wind farm battled to save the boat for 45 minutes. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678704)
Lifeboat crews and staff from the nearby wind farm battled to save the boat for 45 minutes. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678704)
The boat could not be saved and sank. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678707)
The boat could not be saved and sank. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678707)

A spokesman for the station said: "Whilst the AWB made its way to the casualty a pilot boat passing by saw the vessel alight and headed in its direction.

"The pilot boat then retrieved the four persons from their liferaft, took them aboard, along with their liferaft, and brought them back to Ramsgate.

"During this time a wind farm vessel had arrived on scene and using their fire hose, attempted to put the fire out.

Four people were rescued from the life raft in the water after abandoning the yacht. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678701)
Four people were rescued from the life raft in the water after abandoning the yacht. Picture: Ramsgate RNLI (13678701)

"Once the lifeboat arrived on scene they set up two further fire hoses and assisted in trying to put the fire out.

"After 45 minutes of hosing the vessel down, which was still burning in some areas, it took on sea water, as the level of the hull had burnt to the sea level and unfortunately sank."

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