Nine Britons rescued from burning yacht off Thai coast

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Media caption,

Burning yacht catches fire after being struck by lightning.

Nine British tourists have been rescued from their burning yacht after it was struck by lightning off Thailand.

They were on board the 50ft (15m) chartered boat off the coast of Phuket when they ran into a tropical storm on Saturday.

The group, understood to be from Scotland, sheltered below deck but the yacht was hit by a lightning bolt.

A passing fishing boat helped the stricken crew and holidaymakers, and no-one was injured.

Video footage showed the Beneteau-manufactured yacht Emmjay engulfed in flames.

Police received a mayday call at around 17:00 and coastguards were dispatched to the scene near the Thalang district.

Marine chief Wiwat Chitchertwong said all the holidaymakers - four married couples and another woman - were safely rescued.

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Image caption,
The nine British holidaymakers had chartered the yacht

He said: ''Police were notified at 5pm that there was heavy rain and lightning that struck the boat. This caused a fire.

''People were already sheltering downstairs in the boat to shelter from the rain when the lightning struck.''

Lt Col Brapan Chanprakon added: ''There were nine passengers on board and assisted by fishing ships they landed safely. There were no injuries or deaths.

''The police department is investigating and speaking with witnesses and boat owner.''

One couple on board were William and Lilias Tennant, from Lanark in South Lanarkshire.

The Reverend Bryan Kerr, of Greyfriars Parish Church, where the Tennants are elders, said they were both keen sailors.

He said: "We are giving thanks that everyone is safe and for those who came to their rescue."

The tourists on board have been named as: Kelvin Atkinson, 65, and and Susan Atkinson, 64; Catherine Toy, 64, and Stewart Toy, 66; William Tennant, 65, and Lilias Tennant, 68; Anne Anderson, 63, and Martin Anderson, 59; and Margaret Hamilton, 64.