A RESCUE mission was launched after a man threw himself into the sea in Hampshire.

Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) were called to the scene after the man dived into Portsmouth Harbour and became separated from his yacht yesterday evening.

His wife called the UK Coastguard at about 9pm to report that he was having difficulties.

The family of four were moored at Portchester Castle when their yacht’s tender drifted away and the man dived in after the rowing boat, but he could not catch it.

Coxswain Pete Byford said: ‘When we arrived on scene the police launch Sir Geoffrey Rackham had managed to pull the man from the water.

“We transferred him onto the lifeboat and wrapped him in an emergency blanket to keep him warm.

“We then returned him to his yacht, where he was reunited with his family and we took them all back safely to shore.”

The GAFIRS voluntary lifeboat crew then discovered the harbour and found the tender on the foreshore at Port Solent.

Mr Byford added: “As the tide was very low my crewman rowed the boat as far as he could then dragged it to the jetty through the mud.

“We’re delighted we could get the family back safely to shore and reunite them with their missing tender too.”

The rescue operation lasted three hours.