A LIFEBOAT crew from Lyme Regis saved a kayaker from drowning after he was plunged from his craft into heavy seas.

The 45-year-old man was plucked from heavy swells before he was winched aboard the Portland Coastguard helicopter and flown to the Dorset County Hospital.

The rescue comes after the Lyme Regis crew took receipt of a new vessel – the Spirit of Loch Fyne – earlier this year.

The lifeboat was launched on Sunday night in heavy seas a quarter of a mile off Axmouth.

Crewmember Jon Broome said: “The man was close to drowning and we were operating in a force five wind.”