LONDON (AP) — Four fishermen have been rescued after capsizing in the English Channel during a heavy storm.

Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Thursday the men capsized east of Eastbourne late Wednesday afternoon. Two were reportedly in the sea and the other two were sitting on the hull of the overturned fishing boat.

The two men in the sea were safely taken on board a merchant ship that rushed to the scene. The two men on the hull were in danger of being washed away because of high waves and strong winds until they were airlifted onto a search-and-rescue helicopter.

The men were treated for exposure.

Coast guard controller Kaimes Beasley said a potential tragedy had been averted by the coordinated rescue effort.

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