THE SKEGNESS RNLI crew have rescued three people after an epic nine-hour battle with the elements.
The Lincolnshire Poacher lifeboat was called out shortly after midnight on Sunday when a motor vessel began taking on water 17 miles north-east of Skegness.
The lifeboat was requested to launch at 00:36 to the MV Sarah, a former fishing vessel with three crew on board.
It had been heading for Wells in strong winds and moderate seas.
Once the casualty was located, lifeboat crew members Dean Sumner and Ian Johnson were transferred to the vessel with a salvage pump and the lifeboat began escorting her towards Fosdyke - a 30-mile journey to the south of The Wash.
A short time into the escort, the steering on the Sarah failed and a tow needed to be attached. Lifeboat crew member Mark Holley was also transferred to the vessel to assist with the pumping and rigging the tow.
Skegness lifeboat coxswain, John Irving, said the lifeboat faced challenging conditions during the long call out.
He added: “It was a bitterly cold, windy night and a long tow down to Fosdyke where the vessel could be hoisted out of the water as soon as possible.
“This was one of the longest shouts we’ve had for a while and we’re all pleased to be home safe and ready for bed.”
Sarah was safely berthed in Fosdyke Marina at around 7:45am and the lifeboat headed back to Skegness, reaching the beach just after 9:30am, nearly nine hours after launching.
It was the crew’s first emergency call-out for over a-month-and-a-half.