DINERS on a floating restaurant had to be rescued by lifeboat crews after it ran aground and became stuck in the mud.

Both lifeboats from RNLI Harwich’s station went to the aid of the Allen Gardiner, a 63-foot river cruise restaurant, at about 6pm on Saturday.

Five fire crews were also called to the scene off the Shotley Peninsula after lifeboats were unable to get near to the vessel, due to the low tide.

Once on scene it was discovered it had suffered multiple engine failures and ran aground with eight passengers and three crew members onboard.

It was later discovered that the boat was missing 420 litres of diesel, which left both the crew and the owner scratching their heads.

Before the crew had the chance to get the anchor down in deeper water, the tide and the wind swept the vessel away and straight onto the mud.

A spokesman from Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team said: “All were safe and well but, with minimal facilities and a long wait for the next high tide, it was decided to rescue them ashore.

“While only a short distance from the shoreline the ground was soft mud which necessitated a mud rescue.”

Coastguard mud teams from Felixstowe and South Woodham Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked as well as mud units from Suffolk fire service.

The spokesman added: “Given the number of floating platforms brought by the fire service we asked them to effect the rescue from the vessel.

“As the passengers were taken off the coastguard teams provided ongoing welfare as some were cold having worn clothes for being inside on a warm afternoon.

“We continued to provide care and support before escorting the group to a location where they were picked up by taxi's for onward transport.”

Two crew members from the stranded restaurant remained on board awaiting the arrival of a mechanic, who was only able to start work at 3am due to the tide, and a towing vessel.

It is understood the vessel has run its service on the River Orwell for eight years, with no previous breakdowns during this time – before Saturday’s mechanical fault.

It was originally a high-speed rescue boat used by the South African Air Force during World War Two to respond to air and sea incidents. These boats were responsible for saving more than 600 lives during the war.

It was repurposed in 2002 and has served as a floating restaurant in the Orwell since 2013.

The boat has since returned to Fox's Marina in Ipswich and has been repaired.