A YACHTSMAN was killed in the Solent this afternoon after strong winds battered his boat.

Emergency services launched into action on the water and in the air after reports that a man had been left seriously injured on his large yacht shortly after 1pm.

The man, believed to be in his 30's, suffered fatal head injuries after being hit by the boom on a private boat, off Gurnard Ledge.

The alarm was raised by a ketch which radioed Solent Coastguards, who alerted the Cowes RNLI lifeboat, the police launch Commander and the Lee-on-Solent based rescue helicopter.

The winchman from the helicopter was lowered to the Southampton-based yacht, where the man was declared deceased by the SAR paramedic.

Earlier the lifeboat acted as go-between for the winchman, taking him on board then transferring him to the police launch from which he was lifted back into the helicopter.

His death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have been infofrmed.

A MCA spokesperson said: "A fatality occurred aboard a yacht in the Solent earlier today after a crew member was apparently struck on the head by the vessel's boom.

"The helicopter's winchman was lowered aboard and the casualty was declared deceased on the vessel by the SAR Paramedic.

"The casualty remained on the yacht to be taken to Trinity Landing at Cowes, where the vessel was received by a Coastguard rescue team and Hampshire Police.

"The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed."

This was the second incident in just two days that the Cowes lifeboat had been called out to a yacht where a yachtsman had been a casualty of the strong winds and comes just hours after the remnants of hurricane Bertha, which battered the Caribbean, hit the south coast, bringing with it strong winds, high waves and heavy rain.

Harry Leslie, lifeboat launch authority, said: “Irrespective of the outcome, this was a good example of emergency services working in a joined up fashion to deal with a most unfortunate incident.

“It shows the value of joint training carried out in the Solent by all these rescue units.”