A fisherman is in a serious condition in hospital after his boat sank off Shoreham Harbour. He was found hanging on to a lifejacket by the RNLI

A fisherman, who was found clinging to a lifejacket after his boat sank, has been rescued by the Shoreham RNLI.

The volunteer crews of both the RNLI all weather and inshore lifeboats were called out following a report of a boat taking on water off Shoreham Harbour in West Sussex.

When the all weather lifeboat arrived at the scene, they found the fisherman in the sea, hanging on to a lifejacket.

There was no trace of his 18-foot fishing boat, which had sunk a mile and a half south east of Shoreham Harbour.

The man was brought on board the lifeboat and taken back to the lifeboat station.

The RNLI crew attempted to warm up the fisherman, as he was suffering from extreme cold.

Ambulance paramedics then took him to hospital where he is reported to be in a serious condition.

The inshore lifeboat continued searching the area for any sign of additional crew or debris and then returned to station.

Commenting on the rescue, lifeboat coxswain, Steve Smith, said: “The boat sunk so fast that the man didn’t have time to put a lifejacket on but he managed to hang onto it in the water, which helped save his life.”

“One of the crew spotted him in the water and we got to him as soon as we could,” he added.

The incident took place at around 0900 on 12 December 2016.