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Lowestoft: Three crewmen airlifted to hospital after abandoning a burning vessel

16:07 14 January 2014

The operations room at Humber Coastguard - credit Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The operations room at Humber Coastguard - credit Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

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Three crewmen were airlifted to hospital after their vessel caught fire off the Suffolk coast forcing them to abandon ship.

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The ECC Topaz was heading out to service a wind farm when the blaze took hold just before 1pm today, 10 nautical miles east of Lowestoft.

Humber Coastguard coordinated the rescue operation, involving a search and rescue helicopter for RAF Wattisham.

Watch manager Graham Dawson said: “The fire was quite severe and the crew had no option but to abandon vessel.

“The crew had the correct lifesaving equipment and rescue resources were quickly on scene.”

The crew waited in a life rafted until the helicopter crew arrived to winch them to safety before airlifting them James Paget University Hospital at Great Yarmouth as a precaution.

They are not thought to have suffered serious injuries.

A Dutch Coastguard aircraft and the Lowestoft RNLI also attended.

Fuel on board the vessel is believed to have burnt off during the blaze before the vessel sank.

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