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

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Image by Mark Taylor