A 55-year old Australian has been swept overboard from the Swan 57 Cowrie Dancer

A 55-year old Australian man has been reported lost overboard from the Swan 57 Cowrie Dancer in the Southern Ocean some 1200 miles south east of Cape Town. John Blackman was swept overboard when the yacht was hit by a huge sea and lost her mizzen mast and two other crew members, the owner Dale Peterson and Nicholas Lawson are seriously injured, leaving 32-year old South African Carol Erasmus the only uninjured crew.

Cowrie Dancer, which was returning to Australia after a cruise to the Antarctic, round Cape Horn and to the Chilean canals, is not currently in danger and is motoring for a rendezvous with South African research vessel, SA Agulhas which has medical facilities. They are expected to meet up at 1200 GMT today, 2 May.

Blackman, a very experienced sailor, had been wearing a harness and lifejacket when the incident occurred but his lifeline reportedly broke. The remaining crew carried out a search for him but with no luck and any hopes of finding him are now fading fast.

Picture shows Cowrie Dancer leaving South Georgia.