UPDATED: A major search and rescue operation is underway this evening (Monday) for what is believed to be a trimaran that issued a mayday call reporting that it was sinking in the English Channel.
All weather lifeboats from Bembridge and Yarmouth were tasked to the incident shortly after 18:40 alongside two Coastguard Rescue Helicopters, one of which has had to return to base to refuel as the search continues after nearly two hours.
A Royal Navy vessel, HMS St Albans, is also assisting in the search which is yet to locate any persons or the stricken boat.
The Mayday call was heard by a merchant vessel at 16:50 and relayed to the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham.
A search pattern has been established roughly 30 nautical miles south of the Isle of Wight, with rescue crews now closer to France than England.
UPDATE @ 21:55 – The search continues tonight close to the shores of Cherbourg with volunteer lifeboat crew members having been at sea for over 3 hours.
HM Coastguard are appealing for anyone who knows of a trimaran vessel sailing in the English Channel area to call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard in a bid to identify the vessel reported to be in trouble.
UPDATE @ 23:04 – The wreckage of what is believed to be the trimaran at the center of this evening’s search has been spotted by rescue teams tonight, it has been reported to Island Echo.
Coastguard Rescue 104 Helicopter from Lee-on-Solent has returned to base, however Bembridge and Yarmouth lifeboat crews continue the search side-by-side. HMS St Albans has moved away from the two lifeboats.
UPDATE TUESDAY: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have this morning confirmed that a man has been successfully rescued after being spotted on top of his dismasted and battered trimaran around 18 nautical miles south of Portland.
It was initially thought the wreckage had been spotted earlier on in the search, however it was later confirmed that the yacht and any crew were still missing at sea.
Search and Rescue teams were stood down in the very early hours, with the Island’s lifeboats returning to station by around 03:00.
Amazingly, shortly before 04:00 this morning – nearly 12 hours after the mayday call was heard – HMS St Albans spotted the trimaran and one crew member before alerting HM Coastguard, resulting in Weymouth All Weather Lifeboat launching to the area.
Despite the conditions, the lone sailor has survived the ordeal and is recovering in hospital.
UPDATE @ 13:34 – It has been confirmed that a 52-year-old man is recovering in Dorcester Hospital in Dorset following this morning’s dramatic rescue.
The man was said to have been travelling between France and Poole.