Coast Guard video footage of Sunday's rescue has just been released showing two people who have been airlifted to safety from a sinking cargo ship.

The EMS Majestic began taking on water in rough seas about 13 miles (21km) south east of Eastbourne, East Sussex. The seven crew members issued a mayday call and were preparing to abandon ship.

Watch: CG Rescue Air crew Saves Pair From Troubled In Storm EMS Majestic on Dec 6 in English Channel

Volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at Eastbourne arrived to find the ship pitching dangerously in gale-force winds.

Coastguard rescue helicopters based at Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, and Lydd, Kent, were scrambled to help and winched two crew members to safety.

The remaining crew were able to keep the ship afloat by starting salvage pumps.

"Fortuitously, a passing tug responding to the mayday diverted from its passage and was able to take the cargo ship under tow," the RNLI said. The Antigua and Barbuda-registered ship was taken to Southampton where it docked safely on Monday.

Wild weather in the UK and Ireland has left a trail of destruction, with parts of northwest England particularly hard hit.

Related news: Sinking cargo ship rescued in English Channel