LONDON (Reuters) - Four Britons trying to
break a world Atlantic rowing record have been rescued after storms split
their boat in two, leaving them clinging to a liferaft for six hours.
A Scandinavian vessel picked up the "Pink Lady" crew about 480 km (300 miles) west of the Scilly Islands, the coastguard said.
Crew member Jonathan Gornall said they were "very happy to be alive" and looking forward to going home to Britain.
Gornall said their boat was wrecked by a massive wave.
"The next thing we knew we were under water,
fighting to escape the rear part of the vessel - which, on inspection
afterwards when we surfaced, appeared to be completely smashed by a
tremendous wave," he told BBC television.
The rowers had set off from Newfoundland, Canada, at the end of June, aiming to make the 2,100-mile (3,380 km) Atlantic crossing to Britain in 35 to 40 days and beat the current 55-day record.
Gornall, skipper Mark Stubbs, Pete Bray and John Wills had alerted coastguards just after 2:30 a.m. and remained in regular contact by hand-held satellite phone.
Coastguards sent a marine patrol aircraft to fly over their position and broadcast mayday signals to alert passing vessels.
Gornall said it was a shame the team failed in its attempt to break the record but that they were grateful to be alive.
"It was just, you know, you take on nature and you take what she delivers and on this particular occasion she delivered a killer blow," he said.
Heavy storms had forced the rowers to go 45 miles out of their way, while in the first days of the challenge they encountered twice as many icebergs as usual off the Canadian coastline.
The men, all experienced rowers, had been rowing virtually non-stop in pairs for two hours at a time.
Ocean Rowing Society
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