Dramatic boat rescue off Fife coast

Anstruther liifeboat in action.
Anstruther liifeboat in action.
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Two men were involved in a dramatic early morning rescue operation in the Firth of Forth, off the Crail coastline, after their boat ran aground.

The alarm was raised shortly before 1am on Wednesday when the duo made a mayday call that they were in trouble.

Residents at a nearby caravan park watched as the drama unfolded, while local sector coastguard personnel monitored the rescue effort from the shore.

Both the Anstruther lifeboats - the inshore craft, Rotary Centenary Queen, and the all-weather Mersey-class Kingdom of Fife - were launched under the overall command of second coxswain Alex Purves to go to the aid of the men and their boat stuck fast on rocks around 150 yards offshore.

The inshore lifeboat was first on the scene and managed to get the two men safely off their vessel - understood to be a refurbished lifeboat - and transferred them to the Kingdom of Fife.

They were taken back to Anstruther harbour where they were medically assessed by local ambulancemen and were found to be uninjured, but shaken by their ordeal.

A spokesman for the RNLI said that the weather and sea conditions were “very poor, with gusting winds and heavy rain,” and the men’s vessel had started to break up on the rocks by the time the lifeboat crew reached them. The craft is likely to be a total loss and some wreckage was washed ashore and could be clearly seen at first light.

He added that the men were from Liverpool and on a passage transferring the vessel to Isle of Man. They were on a leg of the journey heading north towards Peterhead when their vessel got into difficulties.

The duo lost all their belongings in the incident and were left with only a mobile telephone and a little money. However, a member of the lifeboat crew put up for the night until contact could be made with relatives back home.

The spokesman added that by mid-morning on Wednesday the pair had made arrangements to travel back to Liverpool by train.

The successful rescue effort was coordinated by the HM Coastguard at the 24-hour Forth District maritime rescue sub-centre at Fife Ness, Crail, which is under threat of closure due to Govemnment cutbacks.