TWO men had a lucky escape after they were thrown into the water when their dinghy collided with a ferry.

One of the men went underneath the Studland chain ferry as it hit their vessel last night and the other was plucked from its path by ferry crews. The man who into the water under the ferry surfaced the other side and was rescued by a passing yacht. Both men were unharmed and taken to shore.

Portland Coastguard said several 999 calls had been made to the ops room reporting a small grey inflatable dinghy suffering engine failure whilst in the path of the ferry which crosses the entrance to Poole Harbour between Sandbanks and Shell Bay, Studland.

The two on board were unable to start the engine.

Two lifeboats were launched and were able to pick up the deflated dinghy which had become trapped in the ferry’s chains.

A coastguard spokesman said: “The lifeboat assisted with removing the dinghy after it had become trapped in the chains and took it ashore with one of the casualties, the other being on the ferry.

“Both casualties were wet but unharmed and soon departed carrying their deflated dinghy back to the car.”

Elsewhere a life vest found near the Chequered Fort near Portland Harbour entrance sparked an alert.

The crew of the vessel Fanta took it to Weymouth where it was examined by Wyke Coastguards.

There was nothing further found to suggest that life was at risk and no lost reports have been received so no further action was taken.

Poole launched both its lifeboats within the space of half an hour after two boats broke down off Old Harry Rocks.

Local vessel Boblin took the angling boat Huntress 2 towards Poole before the inshore lifeboat took over and then the all-weather lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of the Fish Eagle.

The inshore lifeboat was back in action later to help a Bayliner motor cruiser which started taking on water west of Brownsea Island. Rescuers activated the bilge pump and with no further watetr coming on, the vessel continued to Wareham.