Nine British tourists rescued from burning yacht after it was struck by lightning

Nine terrified British tourists were rescued from their burning yacht after it was struck by lightning in a deadly tropical storm.

The four couples and one other were onboard the 50ft chartered catamaran off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, when they were caught in storms at 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Police said they cowered below deck as the deadly seas rocked the vessel and thunder sounded overhead.

A lightning bolt then ripped down from the sky and shattered the boat.

Flames tore through the upmarket Beneteau vessel named Emmjay as a passing fishing boat raced to help the stricken crew and holidaymakers - four married couples and one other British woman.

Police received a May Day call at around 5pm and coastguards were dispatched to the scene near the Thalang district.

Footage shows the boat burning to a wreckage after the holidaymakers had been hauled to safety.

The tourists onboard were named as: Kelvin Atkinson, 65, and Susan Atkinson, 64; Catherine Toy, 64, and Stewart Toy, 66; William Tennant, 65, and Lilias Tennant, 68; Anne Anderson, 63, and Martin Anderson, 59; and Magret Hamilton, 64.

Marine Chief Wiwat Chitchertwong said all the holidaymakers had been safely rescued.

He said: ''Police were notified art 5pm that there was heavy rain and lightning that struck the boat. This caused a fire.

''People were already sheltering downstairs in the boat to shelter from the rain when the lightning struck.''

Lieutenant Colonel Brapan Chanprakon added: ''There were nine passengers on board and assisted by fishing ships they landed safely.''