Five crew members from a French fishing vessel have been winched to safety after their boat sank in stormy conditions off the Cornish coast.
Falmouth Coastguard was first contacted just before 1 a.m. this morning by the French Coastguard, who reported that the 21-meter fishing vessel Panamera was taking on water and their pumps weren’t coping.
The RNLI Lizard all-weather lifeboat along with the Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from Culdrose were sent to the scene. Falmouth Coastguard also issued a mayday relay broadcast, to see if any vessels in the area could help. Two tankers responded to this message and went to the Panamera. They positioned themselves around the boat to provide shelter while waiting for the search and rescue units to arrive. The wind at the time was a gale force 8, gusting more than 40mph, with a 4-5 meter swell.
When the Royal Navy helicopter arrived on scene, they transferred another pump to the boat. It failed to help with the water ingress so the five crew decided to abandon their vessel and climbed into their liferaft. From there, they were winched on board the helicopter and taken back to Culdrose. The Panamera has since sunk approximately 25 nautical miles south east of The Lizard.
"With stormy conditions out to sea, we needed to act quickly to help these five crew members try to stop the water coming into their boat. Unfortunately, the pumps could not cope and they had to get into their liferaft. From there they were winched to safety,” Jon Wood, Watch Officer at Falmouth Coastguard, said. "Luckily none of the five were hurt or showing signs of hypothermia as they were all wearing survival suits. This undoubtedly aided their survival in what have been tricky conditions tonight.”