The Port Isaac lifeboat were hard at work on New Year's Eve rescuing an angler who had fallen off rocks near Tintagel Head.

Volunteers raced through rough seas to find the fisherman, who was washed off the rocks by a freak wave in the late afternoon.

It is believed the man had been in the water for up to an hour before he was found.

With the helicopter continuing to search for other possible casualties, the lifeboat crew decided to head for the nearest harbour – Boscastle – where the fisherman was met by paramedics and then transported on to hospital by land ambulance.

ABOVE: The video was shot by Matt Main using an RNLI helmet camera and finishes abruptly because it was damaged during the recovery of the man into the D class inshore lifeboat.

Three RNLI volunteers crewed the D class inshore lifeboat Copeland Bell that afternoon.

In a big sea and large swell Andy Cameron (helm), Nicky Bradbury and Matt Main managed to find the man and get him into the lifeboat. At this point it was getting dark.

Entering the harbour in challenging conditions and fading light took all the skill and training of volunteer helmsman Andy Cameron.

Christopher Key, Boscastle harbour master, oversaw the arrival of the lifeboat.

In a letter to Bob Bulgin, chairman of the Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat station, he wrote: "The weather conditions between Tintagel at Boscastle were appalling with high winds and a heavy ground sea running at about eight to ten feet swell size and large sets of waves I would estimate as much as fourteen feet, which were breaking across the harbour mouth. With the tide flooding the ground sea was particularly aggressive.

"I have no doubt that the decision to enter Boscastle Harbour with the light fading and nearly gone was extremely difficult and in my opinion the courage and ability demonstrated by the crew, not only in the initial rescue but also in safely navigating the entrance to Boscastle Harbour through heavy surf with rocks littered all around, was of the highest calibre.

"I know that the crew selflessly put their own lives at very great risk last night. On behalf of my [Boscastle Harbour] association we appreciate their outstanding conduct."

The lifeboat sustained some damage during the rescue and with conditions building it was decided to leave it in Boscastle overnight. The lifeboat was repaired and back on service the following day.

Lifeboat operations manager at Port Isaac, Phil Tidy, said: "The crew did extremely well to find and rescue the man and that’s the best news for all of us.

"This rescue, happening late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, highlights the extraordinary commitment of the RNLI’s volunteer crew who are willing to drop everything to help save a life at sea.

"To know we helped someone in trouble was a good way to see in the New Year."

Helmsman Andy Cameron added: "We don’t know the name of the gentleman we helped, but he is in our thoughts and we hope he is making a swift and full recovery."