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Sailor rescued from houseboat fire

A Frenchman lost everything when his houseboat burst into flames off the North East coast of England.

The man was sailing in his 38-foot boat from Iceland to Holland when an explosion on the boat caused a fire, according to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Britain’s all-volunteer coast guard.

The sailor sent a mayday call and an RNLI crew found him 35 minutes later floating 10 miles off the coast of Seaham, County Durham. An RAF helicopter saved the man, who had clambered aboard a life raft, by winching him to safety.

"He seems to have done all the right things in what must have been a very frightening situation. He launched the liferaft correctly and had everything he needed to keep safe, including a lifejacket, flares and water,” Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden said. "Fortunately, the sailor was uninjured, but it was very sad to see his yacht burn and then sink so quickly. We understand the boat was his home and he was sailing from Iceland to Holland, but it looks like he’s lost nearly everything.

"He’s now being looked after by the Coastguard and we wish him well for his journey home."