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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 16:55 GMT
Crew rescued from stricken boat
The trawler, Spinningdale. (Pic: PA/Maritime and Coastguard Agency)
The vessel is hit by waves as it lies against rocks
The Spanish crew of a trawler that was driven aground in gale force winds and high seas on the island of Hirta, St Kilda, have been winched to safety.

The 14 crew had been unable to launch life rafts due to the poor conditions. All those on board were airlifted off by a Stornoway Coastguard helicopter.

The trawler, the Spinningdale, ran aground on rocks by steep cliffs.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's first female pilot, Liz Forsyth, was involved in the rescue, the MCA said.

An archipelago, St Kilda is the most remote part of the British Isles, lying 44 miles west of Benbecula.

Four of those who were aboard the vessel have been taken to hospital suffering from effects of the cold, while the others have received dry clothing and will be found accommodation.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch will launch an investigation into the incident.

The rescue was performed in extreme weather conditions at a very hazardous location
Ian McLuskie
CHC Helicopter Corporation

Lifeboat crews and coastguard teams were also alerted after the vessel ran aground.

A second helicopter, the RAF Sea King Rescue 137, was scrambled and put on stand-by to assist in the rescue operation.

Coastguards said removing the crewmen was not easy in the treacherous conditions.

Helicopter crews had to wait until first light before attempting the rescue.

They flew the boat's crew to Stornoway.

CHC Helicopter Corporation - the company which provides Stornoway's search and rescue copter - said the incident was the new S92's biggest challenge to date.

Ian McLuskie, search and rescue manager with CHC, said: "The rescue was performed in extreme weather conditions at a very hazardous location."

Helicopter footage of the rescue

Forecasters issue weather warning
31 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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