SOUTHAMPTON-based cruise ship Ventura has rescued a badly injured yachtsman following an emergency Mayday alert.

The P&O Cruises' vessel was in the Mediterranean when Ventura's crew intercepted the urgent call for help after the French skipper of a yacht fell and broke his hip.

Ventura, which left Southampton last Friday, answered the distress call and the ship's master Captain Keith Dowds immediately changed course and diverted to launch a rescue operation.

Once close by the yacht Vitimen, a fast response boat was launched from Ventura and came alongside the yacht so that the injured sailor could be transferred to the cruise ship where he received treatment from doctors and nurses in the vessel's medical centre.

Elie Colico, the yachtsman, was taken ashore when Ventura docked at the Spanish city of Malaga, her next scheduled port-of-call.

Two other crew members of the yacht then continued on their journey arriving back in France and have been confirmed safe and well.

Ventura is due back in her home port of Southampton in 11 days' time.