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Rescued Rowers Reunited with Families

August 9 2004

By Martin Halfpenny, PA News

Four British rowers who cheated death when they were plucked from heavy seas after their boat was ripped apart by a freak wave today had an emotional reunion with their families.

Skipper of the Pink Lady, Mark Stubbs, and his three crew – Pete Bray, Jonathan Gornall and John Wills – flew into Southampton Airport where they were hugged and kissed by wives and girlfriends after their traumatic rescue in the early hours of yesterday.

A 60ft rogue wave off the south coast of Ireland smashed into the craft just 300 miles from the finish line in the men’s attempt to row across the Atlantic west to east.

The ferocity of the wave broke the craft in two, plunging the men into the water in heavy seas. Former SAS diver Mr Bray, 48, from Bridgend, south Wales, twice dived into the broken craft to get the crew’s life raft and survival kit. Today his fellow crew members said he had been a hero to them all.

But for the families waiting in the arrivals lounge of the airport the most important thing was that their loved ones were safe after their ordeal.

Mr Stubbs’ wife Paula, 39, a school nurse, said she could not wait to get her husband back to their home in Poole, Dorset, so the family, including daughters Brianna, 13, and Victoria, 10, could welcome him back in private.

“I am so glad for him to be home and that he’s back safe and well. I have missed him awfully and we all feel fantastic,” she said.

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