Four sailors raise the alarm by satellite phone after yacht catches fire

A routine yacht delivery went badly wrong 20 miles off the Italian coast last night, when four British crew were forced to abandon ship after a fire broke out. To make matters worse, their liferaft was leaking and they were forced to use their satellite phone to call for help.

The four men – who regularly sail in the Solent – put a call through to Solent Coastguard, as it appears to have been the only number saved in the phone. The rescue call was forwarded to Falmouth, who coordinated with the Italian authorities.

Within 90 minutes the men were picked up by Coastguards from a base in Rimini and are now recovering locally. One was admitted to hospital with smoke inhalation and minor burns. Andy Cattrel, Falmouth Coastguard watch manager, told reporters: ‘They were quite shaken up, but they seemed fine.’