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Rowers rescued in record flight 


A rescue helicopter based in El Hierro has notched up what it believes to be a record rescue.

On Wednesday, February 13th, the alert went out that two rowers were in trouble.

It turned out to be a 65-year-old Canadian and a 24-year-old Brit who were trying to row across the Atlantic. They had set out on February 7th, intending to cover the 5,600km from La Gomera to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

The rescue operation was mounted just after 1pm when the space station at Maspalomas in the south of Gran Canaria picked up an SOS beacon from the “Deep Blue” rowing boat. The experts here were able to pinpoint the exact location of the boat which meant the rescue helicopter could fly straight there.

The Superpuma helicopter flew direct from El Hierro to the point of rescue and managed to return to the air base in Gran Canaria without touching land. This involved a journey of 730 nautical miles, breaking the previous record of 718.

The two occupants were said to have been “absolutely thrilled” at seeing the rescue helicopter as their situation was “very dangerous” with a leak in the boat.

The cost of the fuel used is put at around 12,000 euros and under the new Canary law, those rescued might have to pay all or part of the bill.