Contact made with UK yacht in trouble off Spain

HM Coastguard has successfully made contact with the skipper of a yacht in trouble off Spain.

An EPIRB beacon alert was received for the UK Registered Vancouver 34 yacht Helena in an area 500 miles north west off Cape Finisterre around 12.20am today (22 May).

HM Coastguard has been coordinating search and rescue efforts.

A French maritime patrol aircraft is on the scene and has located the 10 metre yacht which is without a mast and drifting.

There is one person on board who has now been spoken to using VHF radio. It has been confirmed that the vessel is watertight and that the yachtsman is not injured.

The RAF are providing a Hercules aircraft to keep a presence at the scene while merchant vessels are diverted to assist. The first vessel is due to arrive on scene around 6am tomorrow (May 23).

Duty maritime operations commander Mark Rodaway OBE said: “This is an excellent example of cooperation, HM Coastguard has been able to collaborate with the Ministry of Defence and international search and rescue partners to identify the exact location of the yacht.

“Every effort will now be made to ensure assistance arrives as soon as possible.”

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