Three sailors were rescued today after their vessel started taking on water in rough seas 12 miles off the coast.
Coastguards received a distress call from the 32ft Wandering Star at 7.20am after the yacht’s engine failed.
Lifeboats from Kilkeel in the North and Clogher Head launched a joint rescue operation in response.
The boats battled gale force seven winds and driving rain to reach the Wandering Star, which had been en route to Dublin from the Isle of Man when it got into difficulty.
The Kilkeel crew found the vessel at around 8.20am and assisted the crew until the larger Clogher Head lifeboat arrived 25 minutes later and attached a towline.
A stay had broken on the yacht’s mast and when its crew started the engine, a pipe had burst and leaked into the bilge pump.
The Wandering Star is being towed to Clogher Head.
Kilkeel Lifeboat operations manager Roy Teggarty said: "This was a well co-ordinated rescue between both lifeboats through Dublin Coastguard.
"Our boys made good speed in the adverse conditions and were on scene in good time."