Lifeboat rescues five from stricken yacht

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FIVE people and a dog had to be rescued from a yacht after they thought it had caught fire.

A Mayday distress signal was sent out by the crew of the 29ft yacht ‘All Spice’ as it approached the entrance to Chichester Harbour.

Joint skippers Hugh Thomas and Jason Williams with their wives, Mr Thomas’ 12-year-old daughter and dog ‘Monty Musto,’ went to enjoy the New Years’ Eve celebrations in Cowes, but fell into trouble on the sail back to Itchenor, near Chichester.

The coastguard and Hayling Island RNLI were alerted at 2.40pm and a lifeboat was launched from the station at Sandy Point, Hayling Island.

Smoke was seen coming from the yacht, but no flames.

A coastguard spokesman said: ‘They were reporting their vessel was on fire.

‘There were five people on the vessel and a dog.

‘The lifeboat established there was smoke, but no significant fire.

‘They removed the people and animal safely on to the lifeboat.

‘The vessel was then taken to Hayling Island where it was met by the fire brigade.

‘It turned out the engine had overheated.’

Crews were stood down at 4.20pm.

Rena Williams, who was inside the cabin when the engine was overheating, said: ‘It was pure relief to see the rescue boats arriving with us in quite rough conditions.

‘I want to express our gratitude to the RNLI and Hayling Rescue for their prompt action.

‘Monty Musto seemed more concerned with the biscuits at the lifeboat station however!’