73 days into a leisurely row across the Atlantic wasn’t quite far enough for the OAR Northwest team on their Africa to Miami trip; they were rescued two days ago when their boat went over in an unrecoverable capsize. Here’s the statement from OAR Mission Control’s Greg Spooner, and we encourage you to check out the excellent OAR blog for some great ‘day in the life of an ocean rower’ stuff here.
At 3:50am Pacific Daylight Time this morning I received a phone call from the United States Coast Guard station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, indicating that a distress signal was activated on board the ocean rowboat, “James Robert Hanssen”. The boat and its crew were 73 days into a trans-Atlantic rowing expedition between Dakar, Senegal and Miami, Florida, to study the health of the Atlantic and inspire kids to make their dreams a reality.
The signal from a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) attached to a life jacket was activated approximately 400 miles north of Puerto Rico.
A Coast Guard C-130 airplane was deployed and made visual and radio contact with the overturned boat and life raft. The ocean rowboat suffered a catastrophic capsize event, unable to self-right as designed.
The four rowers were able to safely deploy their life raft and are awaiting rescue by a passing commercial vessel. Many years of preparation and training went into the trans-Atlantic ocean row to mitigate the risks involved. Unfortunately careful planning cannot make an important expedition like this 100% safe.
We are extremely grateful for the services of the United States Coast Guard, and all other agencies involved in the successful location and rescue of the four rowers. They put their lives at risk to save ours.
More information to follow as it becomes available.