Humber Coastguard received a 999 call at 5.45am on Friday morning from the stricken man

A man was rescued from

his life raft early on Friday morning after his yacht Julia went up in flames.

Humber Coastguard received

a 999 call this morning at 5.45am from the sailor who reported that his 36ft

Bavarian yacht had caught fire.

The vessel was 15

nautical miles off Sunderland when the fire took hold, forcing the man to abandon

the boat and escape in his life raft.

Following the request

for recovery, Hartlepool RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats attended the

scene, as well as the Tynemouth all weather lifeboat.

An RAF rescue

helicopter from Boulmer was also dispatched.

Members of the public

and those aboard nearby vessels could see a plume of smoke coming from the

burning yacht.

Humber Coastguard

watch manager Mark Ellis, said: “When we spoke to this gentleman, it was clear

that he was foreign, but through broken English we were able to instruct him to

discharge his personal locator beacon (PLB) which gave us an exact location.

“However due to highly

visible smoke on scene, many vessels were already en route to assist.

“When the man was

located he had his lifejacket on and was in his life raft. The rescue

helicopter reached him first and winched him to safety.”

The man suffered no

injuries as a result of the incident and what remained of the yacht was towed to

shore.

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Image by Mark Taylor