Sailors from a Royal Navy air defense destroyer rescued four people after their yacht began to sink off the Isle of Wight.
HMS Diamond had just left Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, on Thursday when it responded to a distress call.
A civilian yacht, sailing from the River Beaulieu in the New Forest to Honfleur in France, had sent out the distress signal after it began to take on a “significant” amount of water.
The crew of the Type 45 destroyer coordinated the rescue operation with crews from Newhaven and Bembridge RNLI as well as a French Coast Guard helicopter.
They scrambled the seagoing vessel from the warship to the yacht and picked up four of the five crew members who were taken back to Diamond to be examined by medical personnel.
They were then taken to hospital by the Newhaven lifeboat.
Three of Diamond’s sailors then returned to the yacht and helped the boat’s skipper stabilize the vessel and bring it back to the UK.
Diamond’s commanding officer, Captain Peter Barfoot, said: ‘When the yacht made its distress call, Diamond was nearby and therefore able to respond in a timely manner.
“The ship’s crew was able to evacuate and disembark the crew who needed medical assistance.
“At the same time, some of the vessel’s specialists were able to board and provide essential support to the yacht’s skipper, which ultimately prevented the vessel from sinking.
“In difficult conditions, working tirelessly, my ship’s crew saved the lives of five sailors and ensured that one ship was not lost.
“It’s in keeping with the finest traditions of the service and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”
HMS Diamond left Portsmouth yesterday to join HMS Queen Elizabeth for operations in northern European waters as part of a Carrier Strike Group.