How do you survive a sea storm? Phone a friend...

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The Independent Online

When two brothers found themselves in trouble off the coast of Spain, pounded by massive waves and with failing radio equipment, they felt their chances of survival were slim.

But though they feared for their lives, David and Brian Scott were not to be beaten.

As their mayday calls went unheard, they realised they had one option left - they had to phone a friend. And they got through to their older brother in Britain on a mobile phone.

The drama unfolded late last night when the Scotts found themselves caught up in an unforeseen storm, three miles off the Spanish shoreline and buffeted by six metre waves.

The pair, both experienced seamen, had set off earlier in the day with their new 53ft motor cruiser to make what was expected to be an easy trip from Alicante to Puerto Buenos on the Costa del Sol.

But they ran into trouble as the weather took a turn for the worse.

Having expected to complete the trip in daylight hours, night fell and they found themselves being thrown about by force nine winds and taking on water.

Realising they were in danger, they called for help on the radio but failed to make a connection.

After repeated efforts, the pair decided to try the mobile, phoning their brother Martin in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The surprised 52-year-old said he was "extremely concerned" to receive the call at 10pm from his brothers who both work in oil and gas exploration and have more than 20 years experience at sea.

"The conversation started off as 'Can you hear me? We have got big problems,' he said.

"It was David's voice and I knew then that it was a dire situation.

"He said, 'Write this down' and then gave me their position and told me what I would need to know to alert the authorities. They were frightened."

Mr Scott said he then phoned the local coast guard who passed him on to coast guards in Falmouth, Cornwall, who are tasked with international search and rescue liaison.

He was then put in touch with the authorities in Madrid and explained his siblings' location.

"They finally managed to get a rescue vessel out but by then the boat had run aground," he said.

Throughout the ordeal, the three kept in touch with a series of phone calls, each lasting less than a minute to save the battery on the mobile.

Mr Scott said: "They have seen a lot at sea but they both told me later that they thought they were going to die last night. They were shaken."

And he said they had taken "every sensible precaution" before setting sail.

Though David, 56, hurt his right leg, the pair otherwise escaped uninjured.

Brian, 58, had planned to use the now battered motor cruiser for dive parties from Puerto Buenos where he and his brother are based.

He bought the boat last month.

Yarmouth Coastguard watch manager Mario Siano said: "This is an excellent example of national and international co-operation between multiple coastguard stations.

"The information was quickly gathered and passed on, and I am happy to report that we are told all on board are now safely ashore."