Three men have been rescued after their boat caught fire and sank on its way to a Suffolk wind farm

An RAF helicopter and Lowestoft lifeboat helped to rescue three men who abandoned their 15m workboat after it caught fire and sank about nine miles east of Lowestoft. The boat, ECC Topaz, was on its way from Lowestoft to service an offshore wind farm when the blaze broke out at around 1pm on Tuesday.

Its three crewmen sent a mayday call requesting immediate assistance and then launched and climbed in to a liferaft. The crew of the Sea King rescue helicopter said that smnoke from the burning boat was visible from more than seven miles away.

“We winched the winchman into the life raft and he assessed the casualties. Nobody needed first aid. We winched them up and took them to hospital”, said co-pilot Flt Lt Bob Dewes. “They seemed fine and were not even wet. They had all the right kit and knew what to do”.

“Once the helicopter had winched the casualties to safety we went to recover the life raft and debris from the area”, said Phill Corsi, coxswain of the Lowestoft lifeboat. “The vessel was still burning at this stage”, he added, “but the workcat sank within ten minutes”.