Distressed Royal Air Force Rowers Saved by Passing Ship
Four members of the British Royal Air Force were rescued by the crew of the bulk carrier Hedvig Bulker and were brought back to dry land, Monday, after a treacherous 51 day, trans-Atlantic attempt from Spain to Antigua in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Rescued were the Atlantic Forces rowing team: Jane McIntosh, Warren Burns, Howard Raw and Elizabeth Beauchamp.
The team had a broken rudder on day 46 and after exhausting all efforts to fix it in heavy seas, running low on food and water, and near to losing all electronics, they used the little electricity they had left to call for help on their satellite phone.
Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Falmouth, England, contacted the U.S. Coast Guard's Atlantic Area Rescue Coordination Center requesting assistance Jan. 23, stating they were disabled after their rudder broke 1,560 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard watchstanders in Puerto Rico used the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System to contact the nearest Amver participating ship. The Hedvig Bulker responded to the Coast Guard's request approximately 69 miles from the row boat's position and diverted to assist.
Once on scene the master of the 574-foot ship reported, "harsh sea conditions are preventing us from getting alongside the row boat." After nine attempts in about five hours, they were able to use a cargo net to hoist each of the four crewmembers up the side of the ship from the heavy seas.
The team was participating in a 2,982 mile Atlantic Campaign called the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the row boat race from San Sebastian de La Gomera, Spain, to Antigua.