Three Brits have been rescued in the Atlantic after their Hallberg-Rassy 48 smashed into a whale and started leaking water. It happened last May 23, around 356 miles north-west off coast of Azores.
Sailors, aged 41 to 61, immediately called the coast guard to say the hull was punctured and they were about to abandon ship.
Portuguese rescuers mobilised two military planes to pick up the Brits after the collision off the Azores, although they ended up being brought to safety on board a Liberian-flagged merchant vessel which responded to their SOS call.
They were later brought to safety on board a merchant vessel and taken to the northern Spanish port city of Aviles. The British-flagged yacht ‘suffered damage caused by a collision with a whale’, which he said was a ‘rare occurrence’.
Fortunately a merchant ship was nearby and agreed to help the men as a navy corvette would have taken hours to reach them.
If the men had resorted to abandoning the ship for a life raft, they would have lost communication with the coast guard, making the rescue operation even more difficult.
The three survivors, who are all in good health, told the coastguard how their boat sank shortly after they were rescued.