The sailors used their liferaft to reach shore before setting off an emergency beacon to alert rescue services

Four men forced to abandon ship after yacht runs aground on a reef off the south east coast of Australia.

The crew had been sailing from Adelaide to Portland when the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, at around 1.35am.

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Police launched a search and rescue effort in poor weather conditions after the crew activated their emergency beacon about 1km off shore.

After several hours, the four men were found near sand dunes around 10km north of Beachport, having used their liferaft to get to dry land.

Despite having suffered minor injuries, the group were in good spirits and had set up emergency lighting and beacons.

Brevet sergeant Peter Phillips told ABC news: “One had a fairly nasty gash above his eye and another one was actually concussed as a result of their emergency life raft flipping over as they were trying to get to shore.

“There is a large hole in bottom of the vessel, caused by the reef. It’s filled with water as well, it’s fairly waterlogged, there’s sand all through the vessel.

“There’s no doubt that their experience in this incident is the reason they have survived this.

“They were all wearing life jackets, they had flares which they activated, they also had two EPIRBs on board.”

Following the grounding, the stricken yacht washed ashore in strong winds and became stuck on the sand.

The crew, from Adelaide and Brisbane, were all taken to Mount Gambier Hospital and were treated for their injuries.