Sunday, May 06, 2007

Australian Authorities Rescue Japanese Sailor After Wave Disables Yacht

Rescuers used a helicopter to pluck a Japanese round-the-world sailor from his yacht off southern Australia after it was disabled by a massive wave, maritime authorities said. Ikuo Kashima, 77, was in hospital on Sunday for health checks after the rescue on Saturday, about 275 kilometers (170 miles) off the southern tip of Tasmania state, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins. Kashima was nine months into his solo circumnavigation of the world when his 12-meter (40-ft.) yacht Koraasa77 was struck by the wave south of Bathurst Harbor, disabling the boat and leaving it drifting, Jiggens said.He made a distress call by satellite phone early Saturday that was answered by a rescue plane, and later a helicopter. "The search and rescue helicopter dropped a rescue officer into the water and the man that was on the yacht got into the water with him and then they were both winched up in the helicopter," Jiggens said. The yacht was abandoned.

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