A FISHING boat out of contact for three hours prompted a major alert.

Coastguards launched a major search for two people on board the West Bay-based whelk trawler Tracy.

The pair on the vessel hadn't been seen or been in contact for three hours, prompting an emergency call.

Just as a search was getting underway, the boat was found safely.

"Her lack of contact was explained by her VHF radio being defective," said a Portland Coastguard spokesman.

Coastguards said the search early yesterday afternoon involved the rescue helicopter from Portland, Lyme Regis and Weymouth RNLI lifeboats, West Bay Harbour launch, the warship Severn, and both West Bay and Wyke Regis Coastguard Rescue Officers.

Elsewhere, a crewman who broke his ankle on a yacht at sea was taken to hospital.

The yacht Phosphorus called Portland Coastguard yesterday evening reporting they had an injured crewman. Medical advice was obtained via a 'medilink call' with medics onshore and the decision was made for the yacht to return to Portland.

The casualty was met by Portland Bill Coastguard Officers and paramedics who took him to hospital for treatment.