FIVE fishermen were rescued from a life raft in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday) by Angle lifeboat.

The crew of the local vessel CKS, which fishes out of Milford Haven, issued a Mayday call at 2.02 this morning to say that they had hit rocks and were taking on water and sinking rapidly off Rat Island, at the entrance to the Milford Haven Waterway.

Angle all-weather lifeboat was tasked to the incident and was on the scene within 15 minutes of the initial emergency call.

As the lifeboat arrived, the fishing boat was in shallow water off West Angle Bay, with the pilot vessel standing off. The rescue vessel manoeuvred alongside the fishing boat and transferred two lifeboat crew members with a salvage pump onboard the stricken vessel.

They attempted to save the fishing boat, however the skipper soon decided that the it was unsafe and ordered his crew and the two RNLI volunteers to abandon the vessel into a liferaft. Once the liferaft was clear of the sinking boat the all-weather lifeboat recovered the crew, and made their way back to Milford Haven.

None of the fishermen required hospital attention; they were handed over to St Govans coastguards at Milford Haven.

The lifeboat returned to Angle lifeboat station at 3:35am.

A local pilot vessel also attended the incident. The coastguard rescue helicopter was also tasked to the scene but subsequently stood down.

Coastguards said the stricken vessel was currently in West Angle Bay and was due to be recovered by the owner this afternoon.

Ben Wilson Ceredigion Operations Manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “We’re monitoring the situation, but at the moment it appears that no pollution has happened as a result of this incident.

“There is some diesel and hydraulic oil on the boat but none appears to have leaked and we are working with the Milford Haven Port Authority to put a boom in place if any does leak.

“This will make sure the local environment is protected which is important for local wildlife and people.”