RNLI volunteers faced huge seas on Saturday when they were called out to help the crew of a French trawler struggling in 30ft seas and 60mph winds.

Padstow lifeboat launched on Saturday (February 1) just after 4pm to assist Le Sillon which was in difficulty amongst waves described as 30ft plus and wind gusting to 60mph.

Falmouth Packet:

The crew of the trawler had to leave the vessel and take to the water in their survival suits because the sea state was too bad for the rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose to lift them from the deck of their vessel.

Five of the crew were picked up from the water by the Royal Navy rescue helicopter and the skipper was picked up by the RNLI lifeboat from Padstow. All six crew were brought ashore.

The trawler has now washed up on the cost near Porthcothnan, and the public have been warned away from the area due to the appauling weather conditions.

Falmouth Packet:

Picture: Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages

The four "cold, shaken but mostly unharmed" French and two Portuguese fishermen are recovering at the Fishermen's Mission at Newlyn, with the skipper taken to hospital for cuts to his feet..

Padstow lifeboat coxswain Richard Pitman said: "A great deal of credit must go the winch-man on the helicopter, the heavy sea conditions made his job very difficult as he was dragged in and out of the water with the rise and fall of the sea.

"The conditions were challenging and it was a difficult rescue for all involved, we are pleased to have been able to assist.’"

The fishing vessel had been struck by several large waves, causing them to lose power and steering. They were drifting approximately five miles off Trevose Head when Padstow lifeboat and the Royal Navy rescue helicopter were called to their aid.