Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 15:00 UK

Couple rescued from the high seas

Photograph from rescue
The couple stayed on the boat as attempts were made to get her free

A Shropshire couple whose 37ft-yacht was in danger of sinking 30 miles off the Welsh coast were rescued in an operation lasting several hours.

The Whitchurch pair, who have not been named, were on a yacht which got caught on a rope attached to the seabed.

Llandudno RNLI took more than two hours to reach them and one crewman, Tim James, spent an hour and a half in the rough sea trying to cut the yacht free.

The couple reached safety about 15 hours after calling a coastguard.

The pair, who called a coastguard early in the afternoon, landed at Conwy in the early hours of the following morning after previously being in Force eight gales.

The yacht skipper and his wife were absolutely all in
Raymond Evans, Llandudno lifeboat station

Mr James said: "The back of the boat was going up and down by anything like 10 or 12 feet, which kept dunking me in the water.

"The couple were safest on the boat as long as she wasn't in any danger of sinking at that time.

"I managed to cut the first rope only to find there was another one underneath, so I had to go through the same process again, which was somewhat frustrating.

"The danger with being caught on the stern is that the waves are breaking into the cockpit which is where the people are."

'Quite understandable'

After the rope was cut free, Mr James stayed on the yacht and helped sail her to Conwy with the lifeboat following the group at relatively low speed.

"By this time the yacht skipper and his wife were absolutely all in," Raymond Evans, from Llandudno lifeboat station, said.

"This guy of ours had to sail the boat back virtually single-handed.

"(Earlier the husband) actually got into the sea to see if he could cut this loose, but he failed. He managed to get back aboard.

"It was a foolish thing to do in a way but quite understandable because they were open to the sea."

Llandudno lifeboat station was called at about 1445 BST on 25 August and the pair reached Conwy at about 0545 BST the following morning.

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