A CRIPPLED motorboat with three men on board that was being pushed on to rocks was the centre of a late night rescue operation

An emergency crew was scrambled to go to the aid of the 19-foot boat, which is based in Hamble.

The drama happened at 11pm after it broke down near East Cowes.

The vessel had apparently carried the men to various locations on both sides of the Solent before they ran into serious engine trouble near Castle Point. 

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was launched and found the 33-year-old owner cold and wet from jumping into the sea in an effort push the powerless boat away from rocks.

After towing the motorboat clear of the hazardous shore the lifeboat carried out an alongside tow to Trinity Landing.

There the owner was quickly provided with a blanket from the lifeboat station.

Also at Trinity Landing were members of the Ventnor coastguard team.

The lifeboat returned to station just after midnight.

Lifeboat helm, Myles Hussey, said, “We got as close to the East Cowes shore as we could before one of our crew, Mark Crook, jumped into the water and took a tow line across to the motorboat.

“The men had been unable to start their engine because the key had broken in the ignition,” said Myles.

“We also found that the boat had suffered damage to the port bow and propeller.”