Ferry joins frantic search for yacht after distress signal

Steam Packet ferry, the Ben-my-Chree, joined the search
Steam Packet ferry, the Ben-my-Chree, joined the search
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A small yacht with three people on board broadcast a mayday distress call, sparking a dramatic sea search and rescue mission.

The boat, which set off from Fleetwood on Thursday afternoon, was aided by RNLI crews from the Isle of Man and Barrow – as well as Steam Packet ferry the Ben-my-Chree – after turning back during bad weather at around 6am on Friday.

Due to a combination of sea conditions, severe seasickness and exhaustion, the crew became disorientated and were unable to establish their position, officials said.

They broadcast a mayday distress call using their VHF radio, which the Belfast Coastguard picked up.

The sea conditions at the time were rough and the wind was westerly, force 5-6.

The vessel was found and towed back to Fleetwood, with RNLI coxwaint Mark Kenyon praising crew aboard the Ben-my-Chree for their effort during the search mission.

He said: “Fortunately, the Ben-my-Chree was able to provide an effective visual search platform without which the search may have been considerably longer.”