'He lost everything': Lifeguards capture dramatic moment Frenchman is rescued from burning houseboat as he attempted to sail from Iceland to Holland
A lone Frenchman lost everything when his house boat burst into flames off the North East coast. The man was sailing in his 38ft yacht from Iceland to Holland when an explosion on the boat caused a fire.
He managed to raise the alarm with the RNLI who found him floating ten miles off the coast of Seaham, County Durham.
The Hartlepool crews were there in 35 minutes, by which time the vessel was well alight. An RAF helicopter saved the man, who had clambered aboard a life raft, by winching him to safety.
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 seems to have done all the right things in what must have been a very frightening situation.
'He launched the life raft correctly and had everything he needed to keep safe, including a life jacket, flares and water.
'He's now being looked after by the Coastguard and we wish him well for his journey home.'