Lone British sailor's voyage from London ends with helicopter rescue off Lord Howe Island 02/8/07

A British sailor whose yacht voyage from London ended on a reef off Lord Howe Island, Australia, has been winched to safety after a tense wait for rescue in heavy seas.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which coordinated the rescue said a Sea Hawk helicopter rescued the 55 year-old sailor shortly after 1700 (AEST) and flew him to Lord Howe Island.

The British yacht, which sailed from London in September last year, and last docked at Noumea, sent a distress signal at 1700 on Wednesday after running aground on Elizabeth Reef. See previous story.

The Sea Hawk, a long-range helicopter which flew up from Nowra, was able to find and rescue the stranded sailor. A second aircraft, a Sea King, was on standby on Lord Howe Island as a backup but was not needed.

“It all went off without a hitch and apparently he’s safe and well,” the AMSA spokeswoman said, adding “The salvage of the stricken yacht remains the responsibility of its owner.”