A rescue operation was launched after this mystery vessel was spotted washed up on the beach near Brean Down at the weekend, with two people stranded inside.

The bizarre-looking orange craft baffled beach walkers on the Weston side of Brean Down who called rescuers, after it was stranded by the out-going tide on Saturday afternoon.

Weston Coastguard sent several of the mud rescue team to walk out to the vessel three quarters of a mile from the shore to establish what it was.

When they reached the vessel, they found two people were inside stranded as the vessel was an escape pod – an enclosed lifeboat similar to those found onboard cargo ships. Both were unhurt.

“They were brought back to shore with the two coastguard ‘mud techs’ and safety advice was given,” said a coastguard spokesman.

“The two people onboard the vessel had sailed from Bristol and were trying to get to the River Axe,” he added.

Coastguards thanked a member of the public for spotting the vessel and alerting them to its location. Firefly, the Avon Fire and rescue service hovercraft, was also called to assist.

Picrtured: The unusual vesel washed up on the Weston side of Brean Down (photo Timmay Curtis)