Dozen rescued from sea after divers' boat sinks

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The Independent Online

Ten divers and two crewmen had a lucky escape when they were rescued from their sinking boat.

The divers were set to dive in waters off Bolt Head, South Hams, near Plymouth, when their boat became overwhelmed by water yesterday.

A mayday signal and flares were sent out alerting a nearby yacht, which contacted Brixham Coastguard at around 10.40am.

The boat sank within eight minutes, leaving the men stranded in the water.

The divers and crew were helped onto a life raft by the passing yacht, the Dutch Angel, until the arrival of the Salcombe RNLI Lifeboat and Inshore Lifeboat as well as the Hope Cove Coastguard and an RAF rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor.

The group, whose members were from London and were diving with the Plymouth-based Aquanauts Dive Centre, was taken back to Salcombe life boat station.

All of the group were checked out at the lifeboat station and no one was hurt.

The divers are hoping to dive to the site within the next few days to recover their lost equipment from the seabed.

Mark Satchell, of Brixham Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said: "The dive boat sank after being hit by a stern wave, which swamped the boat just off Bolt Tail.

"Ten of the divers took to a life raft and the remaining crew boarded the yacht on scene, Dutch Angel.

"Having the correct safety gear, flares and life rafts almost certainly aided the prompt and safe recovery of the casualties.

"I am pleased to say all 12 casualties are safe and well, with no one needing medical assistance."