RESCUE teams rushed to the River Itchen during the early hours of this morning to save people from their sinking houseboats.

At 1am this morning a 25 ton Ketch, a type of sailboat, broke loose in Smith's Quay in Woolston, sinking three houseboats and pontoons.

Hillhead Coastguard Rescue Team rushed to the river and were able to rescue all occupants of the three boats across the sinking pontoons.

The Ketch was secured and all persons were accounted for.

A spokesperson from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "At just before 1am this morning, HM Coastguard received a report of a drifting vessel at Smiths Quay in the River Itchen, Southampton.

"Hillhead Coastguard Rescue Team assisted in securing the vessel to a pontoon to ensure there was no further damage.

"No persons were on-board the vessel."