Two rescued from sea after yacht catches fire off Brighton

Posted On 23 Apr 2011 at 4:55 pm

A quick-thinking yacht’s crew saved two sailors from Brighton from the cold sea this morning after they jumped off their burning boat.

The crew of the Toucan Tango picked up the two men about half a mile from Brighton Marina at about 7.30am.

The pair had jumped overboard in just their shorts and without lifejackets as an engine fire took hold fast just after their 7m fibreglass yacht left the marina.

A spokesman for the RNLI Brighton lifeboat said that the quick response from the Toucan Tango crew had helped avert a tragedy.

The Toucan Tango returned the pair ashore at the marina.

A waiting paramedic crew from South East Coast Ambulance Service gave them initial treatment and took them to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for further assessment.

Solent Coastguard said that blaze aboard the yacht was allowed to burn itself out.

The yacht, believed to belong to the father of one of the two crew members, sank at about 9.30am.

More than 70 people called 999 for the coastguard and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service from just before 7.30am after a loud bang was heard. Flames and smoke could be seen from the shore.


The crew did not have to time even to make a distress call or fire a flare before flames engulfed their boat and they were forced to abandon the vessel.

A spokesman for the Brighton lifeboat crew said: “Fortunately, the yacht Toucan Tango had also recently left Brighton Marina.

“They saw smoke rising from the stricken craft and its crew in the water.

“They made best possible speed to the area and rescued the two casualties from the water.

“They were both cold and shocked but otherwise uninjured.

“This incident highlights the importance of all crew wearing and deploying correctly fitted lifejackets.

“With no time to issue a distress call, the yacht’s crew very quickly found themselves in the cold water with no further means of calling for help.

“This morning’s quick response from the skipper and crew of Toucan Tango has been instrumental in averting a tragedy.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue area manager Adrian Brown said: “All boat owners are reminded of the risk of fire afloat and the need to make sure that boat is well maintained, fire extinguishers are carried and all crew know what to do in the event of fire.”

  1. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    Interesting comment on the Argus trail from someone saying he was one of the two sailors and that they WERE wearing life jackets. He was dressed, but his companion was only in his underpants. And they were using diesel. Says they would not have survived had it been a petrol engine. Dreadfully sad.

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