THE COASTGUARD and lifeboats were called to three people on a yacht that had begun taking in water off the coast of Cowes this afternoon (Monday).

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Ventnor and Cowes RNLI were called to the 40ft Yacht after it struck a buoy on its way to the harbour and began to sink.

The three passengers have been rescued and safely brought ashore but rescue workers fear the boat may be unnavigable.

George Chastney, press officer for Cowes RNLI, said: "The boat collided with a Buoy outside of Cowes and lost its rudder and began taking on water.

"There has been a huge response to it, as well as the emergency services, the Cowes Harbour Launch is there helping out, as well as the Red Funnel Red Osprey.

"The three people on board have now been rescued and are being looked after by staff at the Lifeboat Station, but we fear the vessel may be unnavigable."

A spokesperson for the UK Coastguard said: "HM Coastguard is currently conducting a search and rescue operation just off Cowes Harbour, Isle of Wight following a Mayday VHF radio call from a yacht asking for assistance.

"The yacht reported three people on board and was reporting it had lost the rudder and taking on water.

"The Coastguard Rescue Team from Ventnor has been sent plus lifeboats from Cowes and Calshot.

"The Harbourmaster and Hampshire Police and other vessels are on the scene offering assistance.

"The three people have been safely rescued and taken off the vessel. The vessel is now being assessed for the best and safest means of recovery."

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