FIVE men had to be rescued from a pleasure boat when it began taking in water before sinking off the coast of Ayrshire.
The Coastguard received a call reporting that a 16ft vessel had broken down between Ailsa Craig and Girvan.
As the call continued it became clear the boat was taking on water and sinking in worsening sea conditions, a coastguard spokesman said.
He said there were five crewmembers on board but that only three were wearing lifejackets when they received the call just before 7pm on Saturday evening.
Rescuers were able to trace the men’s precise location using the signal from one of their mobile phones.
Girvan and Campbeltown lifeboat crews and a coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick were scrambled and attended the scene.
The helicopter arrived first and two of the men who did not have life-jackets on were winched to safety.
The three other crewmembers, who were wearing their lifejackets, ended up in the water as the boat sank.
All of them had to winched to safety by the coastguard helicopter.
All of the men were checked over by on-board paramedics and were taken to Girvan.
The coastguard said that spite them all being wet and cold were said to be healthy and in good spirits and did not require further medical attention.
Girvan RNLI all-weather lifeboat remained in the area and retrieved the floating debris from the sunken boat before making its way back to Girvan.
The Coastguard helicopter landed at McCreath Park where it was met by Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team and Police Scotland.
The men were taken to the Coastguard station before returning home.
Girvan RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Gourlay said: “Although the vessel was lost, five lives were saved in this instance and another few minutes and it could have been a very different outcome.”
“The coastguard helicopter arrived on scene and prioritised winching two people from the vessel who weren’t wearing life jackets. At this point the vessel sank in rough water and the three other people were rescued from the water and winched into the helicopter.”
The initial emergency call was received by Belfast coastguard when they were alerted o a boat sinking near the Ayrshire coast.