TWO people escaped a boat blaze off Old Harry Rocks yesterday evening.

A number of vessels came to the aid of the 30-foot sloop's crew, including the Condor Liberation.

Smoke from the stricken vessel could be seen for miles around.

Volunteers from the RNLI deployed the all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat after receiving a 'mayday' call at around 6.30pm.

Swanage and Poole Coastguard Rescue Teams also attended.

Both of those onboard the sloop had abandoned the vessel after spotting flames, and were picked up by a passing motor boat.

No injuries were sustained.

The Condor LiberationΒ pulled alongside the vessel and launched its own rescue boat while responding to the mayday.

Other vessels had also responded to the emergency calls, so lifeboat crews worked to move other boats away from the fire before assessing how much fuel was onboard.

Crews aboard the all-weather lifeboat then began to extinguish the fire using a salvage pump and fire hose.

When the fire was out, RNLI members gathered up the mast and rigging and secured it to the side of the boat before setting up a tow.

The sloop was taken back to the Poole Yacht Club where a Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue crew were standing by to check the vessel over.

Volunteer senior helmsman Gavin McGuinness said: "The boat on fire required immediate action as it was hazard to shipping and it could have been an environmental issue if it had gone down," he said.

"There were a lot of vessels in the area which were also at risk if the fuel or canisters had set alight."