SEVEN people were dramatically rescued from the Solent this afternoon - seconds after their yacht crashed and sunk.

The crew were pulled from the freezing waters by passing sailors moments after their vessel was in collision with another yacht near Bramble Bank in the Calshot area at 1pm.

The crash sparked a huge rescue operation with lifeboat crews and emergency services from both sides of the Solent rushing to their aid.

But it was sailors from the other yacht and a sailor in a tiny RIB who were first on the scene to quickly haul them to safety.

The five men and two women - who were believed to be racing - were travelling Cowes-based Corby 36 yacht called Ino when it was in collision with the yacht Valkyrie  - which was not involved in the race.

The impact caused a huge hole in the vessel's bow causing it to rapidly take in water and begin sinking as the crew plunged into the water.

Daily Echo:

Solent Coastguards, Cowes RNLI and the the independent lifeboat at the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) rushed to the scene after receiving a May Day message from Ino's crew as their boat rapidly took in water.

Crews from Valkyrie pulled on woman ino their boat while a man from a passing RIB hauled the others into his small blue vessel as the damaged boat disappeared under the waves in seconds.

The rescued sailors - believed to be a professional crew in their 20s and 30s - were transferred to the Gosport lifeboat arriving second on the scene.

The Cowes crew arrived shortly afterwards and the rescued crew were wrapped in blankets and taken to the Trinity Landing in Cowes to be checked over.

Noone was injured and an ambulance from South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) turned back shortly after arriving.

Brian Pack, duty coxswain, for GAFIRS praised the rescuers and the RIB captain for his swift efforts.

He said: "His quick actions mean they were in the water for a lot less time before we got there.

"He obviously heard the distress call and arrived to help.

"It was very good and what a lot of people would have been inclined to do.

"It was a swift rescue from all involved."

He said the rescued crew were kitted out and wearing lifejackets and added: "They were very professional and well prepared.

"Some were a bit cold as the water temperature wasn't the warmest.

"It just shows the importance of life jackets and wet weather gear on the water."

Daily Echo:

In a statement released today an RNLI spokesman said: "Although the Ino sank very quickly fortunately all seven were already wearing lifejackets.

"After first being picked up by a passing RIB they were transferred to the Gosport lifeboat which was soon joined on the scene by the Cowes lifeboat. 

"Both lifeboats then proceeded to Trinity Landing, Cowes, where some of the survivors were given blankets rushed from the Cowes station. Also tending to the yacht crew were members of Needles coastguard."

Another RNLI spokesman also thanked the rescuers and added: "They did a good job and acted swiftly as most sailors would when they hear a distress call.

"They prevented something more serious happening."