A search and rescue operation involving an Isle of Wight lifeboat is underway in the English Channel this morning (Thursday) in response to reports of a fire on board a vessel.

The Bembridge RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched alongside another RNLI all-weather lifeboat from Selsey.

The 2 lifeboats joined the Coastguard Rescue 175 helicopter from Lee-on-Solent at the scene of the fire several miles out in the English Channel, close to major shipping lanes.

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Echo of the Island is advised that a Mayday distress call has been made with the container ship AS Petronia responding alongside HM Coastguard assets.

The incident began around 11:30 p.m. last night and is currently ongoing.

Further updates are expected during the morning – but it could be several hours before the lifeboats return.

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