A man plucked from the sea in East Devon was airlifted to hospital and two others had hypothermia after a boat carrying three people capsized at the mouth of the River Axe.
The emergency services were called at around 5pm on Sunday (November 14) after members of the public spotted an upturned vessel in the water and called 999.
The rescuers said the men were ‘lucky’ they were seen by members of public, who raised the alarm.
Beer Coastguard said ‘without those calls the outcome would have been very different’.
A man who swam ashore suffered hypothermia, another male plucked from the water was airlifted to hospital, while the third was spotted by rescuers shining a light offshore.
The emergency services urged water users to wear lifejackets at all times.
A Beer Coastguard Rescue Team spokesman said: “On arrival one man had managed to swim ashore but was suffering from hypothermia. We could see another man waving a light about 100m off shore but could not see the third man.
“Lyme Regis lifeboat immediately went to the man in the water we could see, while we started treatment of the man ashore.”
Axe Yacht Club opened its doors so the casualties could be brought inside and given treatment.
The coastguard spokesman said: “Lyme lifeboat brought the second man ashore and again he was suffering from hypothermia. He was taken inside and started his treatment.
“Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service responders arrived on scene and continued their treatment while the other resources were searching the shoreline and sea for the missing man.
“The coastguard helicopter located the third man over 500m west of the river mouth and 200m offshore.
“Again, Lyme lifeboat pulled him from the water and because of his condition he was airlifted into the helicopter and flown to hospital while the other two were taken to hospital by land ambulances.”
The Beer Coastguard Rescue Team spokesman said: “With all three casualties on route to hospital we turned our attention to the casualties’ boat which was drifting half-submerged off shore.
“Sidmouth lifeboat managed to tow it to Beer beach where coastguards manged to get it up the beach with help from a local fisherman.
“These men are very lucky that somebody saw what happened and dialled 999.”
Lifeboat crews from Sidmouth, Exmouth and Lyme Regis were joined in the rescue of the men by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service responders, South West Ambulance Service, Beer and Lyme Regis coastguard teams, plus help from Axe Yacht Club members.