A HAMPSHIRE publican became stranded on mudflats in Southampton Water after leaving a yacht which had run aground in the early hours.

Coastguards say Jo Sweeney was trying to reach the shore when she became marooned beside a narrow channel at the entrance to Ashlett Creek, near Fawley.

According to witnesses she sank up her waist in mud but managed to struggle free and waited for help to arrive.

In an operation involving the RNLI and coastguard rescue teams from Southampton, Lymington and Hill Head, she was placed on a sledge and pulled across the mudflats before being transferred to Calshot lifeboat, which took her ashore.

She was physically unhurt but went home to have a shower, change her clothes and warm up.

Ms Sweeney and her partner, Mark Cox, run the Jolly Sailor pub in Ashlett Road, Fawley. They were with a third person when their yacht ran aground near the entrance to the creek.

After spending all night aboard the vessel Ms Sweeney scrambled on to the mudflats and started walking towards the shore.

Witnesses say she had gone only a short distance before getting into trouble.

Two men sitting outside Ashlett Sailing Club, directly opposite the stricken yacht, realised what was happening and raised the alarm at around 8am.

Ms Sweeney is thought to have been stranded for about an hour before help arrived.

A coastguard spokesman said: "Three people were on a yacht which ran aground in the early hours. One of them decided to walk ashore and became marooned on the mudflats."

Ms Sweeney apparently decided to stay put instead of either continuing her journey or trying to return to the yacht.

The spokesman added: "She did exactly the right thing in staying where she was and awaiting rescue. She was medically assessed and seems to be fine.

"The other two people she was with decided to remain on the yacht and wait for high tide."