French fishing crew rescued off north Cornwall coast

The crew of a French fishing boat are rescued after waves crash through the vessel's bridge off the north Cornwall coast

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Six fishermen have been rescued after their boat foundered in "treacherous" conditions off the north Cornish coast.

Le Sillon lost power and steering when a huge wave smashed through the French boat's bridge on Saturday.

The RNLI's Padstow lifeboat tried to tow the boat to safety, but the tow line snapped and it was deemed too dangerous to try again.

An RNAS Culdrose helicopter winched five of the crew from the sea, while the sixth was rescued by lifeboat.

'Hearty appetites'

The fishermen had to jump into the sea to be rescued as it was too risky for the winchman to attempt to pick them up from the powerless boat which was being pitched and tossed in the rough seas.

Wreckage from the boat has washed ashore at Porthcothnan, but there have been no reports of diesel pollution on the beach.

Falmouth Coastguard said the public should not attempt to view the wreckage from the cliffs, describing weather conditions as "pretty appalling".

The crew of four French and two Portuguese nationals were "cold, shaken but mostly unharmed", a coastguard spokesman said.

The skipper was taken to hospital to have glass removed from his feet and all the men are now recovering at the Fishermen's Mission at Newlyn.

"Considering the ordeal they've been through, they seem in remarkably good spirits and have hearty appetites, although one has said he'll never go to sea again," a mission spokesman told BBC News.

Arrangements are being made for the crew to return to France later.

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