Rowers attempting to cross the Atlantic rescued after boat capsized

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 07, 2013 11:46 PM
Rowers attempting to cross the Atlantic rescued after boat capsized

MIAMI (Reuters) - Two Americans and two Canadians attempting to row across the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to Florida were rescued after a rogue wave capsized their boat 73 days into the expedition, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Sunday.

Canadian Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek was among the four-man crew rescued about 400 miles north of Puerto Rico.

The rowers were hoping to travel more than 4,000 miles in a 29-foot rowboat on an journey from Dakar, Senegal, to Miami, Florida.

Coast Guard crews found the men on Saturday morning after receiving a distress signal and a personal locator beacon sent from one of their life jackets. They were picked up by a passing cargo ship and in good health, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The men were forced to abandon their rowboat for a life raft when the boat suffered a "catastrophic capsize event," said Greg Spooner, vice president of OAR Northwest, which helped organize the attempted crossing with the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

On Friday, the rowers - Kreek, Canadian Markus Pukonen and Americans Patrick Fleming and Jordan Hanssen - said in messages posted on Twitter that they were going through rough weather.

"Lightning storm passed over us yesterday," the message said. "Lots of loud thunder and intense eye-shattering lightning. Wow. Crazy freaky!"

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The rowboat used wind turbine and solar panels to power research and communications equipment onboard. It also had equipment to desalinate sea water into fresh water for drinking. The boat failed to right itself after it overturned, Spooner said in a statement.

The crew had hoped to make the crossing in about 100 days. They conducted research on marine wildlife while at sea.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by David Bailey and Stacey Joyce)