The crew of an 18ft yacht survived a capsize in rough seas in the Bristol Channel at the weekend.

A yacht reported to be 18ft in length and called Enigma capsized on the afternoon of 15 September near Flatholm Island in the Bristol Channel and her four crew were thrown into the sea.

Swansea Coastguard tasked the Penarth RNLI inshore lifeboat to the scene, initiated broadcasts to ships in the area and scrambled an RAF Rescue helicopter from Chivenor.

Despite being very difficult to see in rough and confused seas, the crew of the yacht spoke to Swansea Coastguard using a waterproof handheld portable VHF radio, which allowed the Coastguard and rescuers to quickly locate and effect a rescue.

One crewmember was recovered by a local boat whilst the Penarth Lifeboat recovered the other crewmembers. All four were subsequently airlifted into the rescue helicopter and transferred to hospital at Cardiff suffering from shock and hypothermia.

James Instance, Duty Watch Manager at Swansea Coastguard said:

“This was an excellent example of lives being saved by having the right safety equipment, wearing appropriate clothing and lifejackets, and knowing what to do in an emergency. Given the very strong West to North West winds and rough seas, the outcome otherwise could have been so very different.”