FOUR people were rescued by Lymington lifeboat after their 7.5m rigid inflatable boat ran aground on marshes.

The casualties were not equipped with a VHF radio and were located after using their mobile phones as torches, which enabled the lifeboat crew to pinpoint their location.

The rescue was carried out in the early hours.

A lifeboat spokesperson said: "The lifeboat proceeded to the western section of the marshes at the entrance to the Lymington River, as directed by the HM Coastguard.

"Unfortunately the casualties did not have a VHF radio on them so it was difficult to establish their exact location.

"The crew were able to locate them as the coastguard had instructed they use their phones as torches to help identify their exact location.

"On arrival, the lifeboat found four people next to the RIB, which was hard aground on the marshes.

"The crew established that no-one was injured and took the casualties on board the lifeboat. They proceeded back to the Harbour Master’s pontoon, where they were met by the Lymington Coastguard Rescue Team.

"It was decided that the lifeboat would go back and tow the RIB off the marshes as it could be a potential danger to navigation if adrift.

"Two crew members were dropped as close to the RIB as possible and tow lines were established.

"Once the RIB was re-floated, the lifeboat crew managed to start the engine and make their own way back to the Harbour Master’s pontoon, with the lifeboat following them.

The lifeboat was cleaned and prepared again ready for service at 01.47am.

Helmsman Greg Pachany said: "It is really important to have a reliable form of communication such as a VHF radio.

"This would have made it quicker and easier to find the casualties.

"It is also very important to make a proper passage plan given the weather and tide conditions, and wear life jackets at all times when afloat."