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VIDEO: Britain’s rescue volunteers step up

Seven crewmembers aboard a 40-foot training sailboat were rescued off England earlier this year in a storm with 60-knot winds and swells up to 15 feet.

Liquid Vortex lost its steering, and all but one sailor was stricken with debilitating seasickness during the Jan. 3 storm. Two rescue boats from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, along with an RAF helicopter, executed the rescue near St. Margarets Bay in Kent on the southeast coast.

Click play for footage of the rescue.

"It was pretty horrendous out there, by all accounts," Judith Richardson, an RNLI press officer, said in a press release that the volunteer organization distributed. "Our crew got up alongside Liquid Vortex, and our duty coxswain … made three attempts to transfer a lifeboat crewmember across to them. Their aim was to attach a tow line, but the conditions were just too rough and dangerous to make the transfer."

The rescuers eventually managed to transfer a crewmember across and attach a tow line, then began towing the sailboat, Richardson said.

The rescue helicopter then airlifted four of the crew for medical assistance.

"The volunteer crews … showed no fear in launching in what were horrendous conditions to assist the crew of this vessel," said Allen Head, an RNLI inspector. "Those aboard certainly had a baptism of fire, being out in such weather, but our crews did everything possible to bring them ashore safely."