TWELVE divers were rescued by two Solihull sailors after their 40ft boat sank in the sea off Salcombe in Devon.
Richard Callaghan and Tom Mitchell were sailing in their yacht, Dutch Angel, on July 11 when they spotted a red parachute flare in the distance.
As they headed towards it they noticed two diving instructors guiding ten struggling passengers into a life raft after their boat Aquanaut had sank in just over eight minutes.
Saviours Richard and Tom pulled in the two instructors and towed the life raft to safety before calling the Coast Guard who sent out a lifeboat to complete the rescue.
It was Mr Callaghan’s 11-year-old son Tom who had noticed the flare and alerted his father and friend to the sight.
“I don’t know how much longer they had left because they had let off their two main flares,” said Mr Callaghan who is the present Commodore for the Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association (HOEOCA) in Balsall Common.
“When we got there they were still putting people into the life raft.
“They looked very uncomfortable and people were being sick.
“It seems their boat had sunk after a rogue wave hit them.”
The group of 12, originally from London, were with the Plymouth-based Aquanauts Dive Centre who said the boat started taking on water so fast it overwhelmed the bilge pumps.
Douglas Allen, the skipper of the Aquanauts boat on the day, expressed his ‘sincere gratitude’ for their help.
“I cannot thank the yacht Dutch Angel enough for saving us,” he said.
“We are just glad everyone is okay and safe.
“It’s at times like this it’s nice to know that all our emergency procedures and training paid off, as the systems we have in place worked perfectly.”