After an explosion onboard, the French yachtsman was forced to escape in his life raft

French sailor made a 999 call for assistance when his 36ft Bavarian yacht went
up in smoke approximately 15 nautical miles off Sunderland this morning.

loan yachtsman told Humber Coastguard there
had been an explosion onboard, he had abandoned the blazing yacht and was in
his life raft.

RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats were both launched at 5.45am and reached the stricken yacht within 35 minutes, by which time an RAF
rescue helicopter from Boulmer was already winching the sailor from his

lifeboat crews recovered the liferaft, then stood by to ensure the burning
yacht did not become a danger to other vessels but it soon sank completely.

RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden said: ‘Fortunately, the sailor was uninjured but it
was very sad to see his yacht burn and then sink so quickly. We understand the
boat was his home and he was sailing from Iceland to Holland, but it looks like
he’s lost nearly everything.

seems to have done all the right things in what must have been a very
frightening situation. He launched the liferaft correctly and had everything he
needed to keep safe, including a lifejacket, flares and water.’

Coastguard also received a number of 999 calls from the public and local
vessels in the area who could see the smoke plumes and the yacht on fire.

Pictures: Hartlepool RNLI alongside the burning yacht. Credit: RNLI/Hartlepool