Oarless British rowers rescued after Atlantic capsize ordeal

Four British rowers have been rescued after becoming stranded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean for more than 16 hours when their boat capsized, robbing them of their oars.

The crew sent a distress signal at 9.08am Saturday, when they were 400 nautical miles from Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

Their ocean rowing boat had capsized several times, causing them to lose the oars and global positioning system and leaving them with no way to navigate or manoeuvre.

After managing to contact them on a satellite phone, the UK Coastguard asked them to activate an emergency beacon before sending a mayday broadcast to other ships in the area.

The quartet, who are said to be "well", were finally rescued at 1.25am Sunday by a bulk carrier on its way to Canada.

UK Coastguard duty controller Ian Guy said: "The rowers were an extremely long way from land with no other vessels in the immediate vicinity. We received several responses to our mayday request, the nearest vessel being 90 nautical miles away, they quickly diverted and set course to the stricken rowers, taking 11 hours to reach them.

"This shows you how important it is to be prepared for your voyage and have several means of contacting the coastguard or raising an alarm, even if you are not in UK waters.

"Thankfully the rowers are now on board the bulk carrier and all are reported to be well."

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