Rescuers locate two liferafts from Winston Churchill and recover 6 crew but three are still missing

In the biggest ocean rescue operation to be mounted in Australian yachting history, Navy, police and other helicopters have lifted 40 people competing in the annual Sydney Hobart race from liferafts. Some of the latest crew to be hoisted to safety included those who had taken to liferafts and abandoned the veteran cutter the Winston Churchill as it sunk 65 miles east of Cabo Island. After an extensive search, four crew members were rescued from one liferaft and two more were air lifted from the second liferaft leaving three crew still unaccounted for after being washed out of their liferaft on Monday morning. Owner and skipper of the Winston Churchill, Richard Winning was one of the first to be rescued and spoke to an Australian news agency, as reported by the BBC, describing the crew’s ordeal as their liferaft was capsized twice, trapping four crew inside the upturned raft on each occasion. So far 67 of the 115 competitors have retired in what has been described as the some of the worst conditions the race has seen in its 53 year history. For many sailors around the world, the tragic events of the last two days will bring back echoes of the 1979 Fastnet Race when 15 sailors lost their lives, 114 were rescued and 23 yachts abandoned.