Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Sunday, 2 November 2008

Three rescued from stranded yacht

RAF rescue helicopter (generic)
A rescue helicopter was called from its base at Wattisham in Suffolk

Three people were winched to safety by a rescue helicopter after their yacht ran aground off the Essex coast.

A 25ft yacht called Nelly was stranded off Bradwell in bad weather on Saturday after global positioning system (GPS) navigation equipment failed.

The crew were rescued by the RAF after lifeboats were unable to reach the yacht, a coastguard spokesman said.

"The yacht's GPS equipment failed and the crew could only make a very rough estimate of their position."

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said later: "Due to the severe weather conditions and breaking surf battering the yacht, the three occupants were winched from the vessel and taken ashore."

Thames Coastguard watch manager Mark Baker added: "This incident highlights the risk of relying solely on a single GPS navigation unit.

"A vessel's position and track should be regularly plotted on a chart and a backup navigation system employed during an offshore passage."

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