Twenty-three people rescued from sinking vessel off Pembrokeshire coast

Twenty-one passengers and two crew members have been rescued from a sinking small pleasure craft off the south-western coast of Wales.

The vessel sent out a mayday message just after 7pm on Tuesday after it began rapidly taking on water near St David’s Head on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Two passenger boats quickly came to the rescue while the Coastguard arranged for lifeboats from St David’s and Fishguard stations to bring pumps to aid the stricken craft.

The Newquay Coastguard helicopter was also sent to assist.

The passengers and crew from the sinking boat were evacuated on to one of the passenger boats as the two lifeboats provided safety cover, a Coastguard spokeswoman said.

“The passengers are being taken back to St Justinian where they will be met by the St David’s Coastguard rescue team,” she added.

The stricken vessel has pumps on board and is heading towards Porthclais.

It had been on a trip off the North Bishops, a series of small islands about three miles from St David’s Head, when it got into trouble.