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Drunk Russian sailors discovered stranded on Welsh island after night out

The Independent logo The Independent 21/03/2019 Tom Embury-Dennis
a group of people standing on a beach © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Three Russian sailors have been found stranded on an island in the middle of the Bristol Channel following a night out drinking in Barry.

A major search and rescue operation was launched on Thursday after the three men failed to return to their ship, which was anchored two miles off the Somerset coast.

They were found "safe but cold" on Flat Holm Island by a rescue crew from the RNLI shortly before 9am on Thursday morning, a spokesperson for the charity said.

The men had left their Dutch-registered coaster the Alana Evita on Wednesday night – launching the vessel's 4 metre rigid inflatable boat – to go drinking in Barry, South Wales, eight miles away.

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They left the resort at 3.45am, but are believed to have got lost in foggy conditions.

The alarm was raised when they had not returned to their ship by 7am, and were found less than two hours later following an "extensive" search involving lifeboats and a helicopter.

An RNLI spokesman said: "Five lifeboats from Minehead, Burnham-on-Sea, Barry Dock and Penarth were launched, together with a Coastguard helicopter.

"But shortly before 8.30am the men and their boat were spotted on Flat Holm island, four miles (6.4km) off the Welsh coast."

Additional reporting by PA

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