Couple rescued from 20-foot waves after boat rudder breaks off

Mar 10, 2017, 00:35
Couple rescued from 20-foot waves after boat rudder breaks off

The couple's four-day ordeal aboard their 12-metre Val, escalated from a broken rudder to capsize in waves the "size of buildings".

TRT World's Ben Said has their story.

Nick Dwyer, 55, and Barbara Heftman, 44, were sailing from New Zealand to Sydney as part of a years-long circumnavigation of the globe when disaster struck.

We encountered enormous seas, waves the size of buildings coming at you constantly, winds that you can't stand up in and seas breaking, whiteness everywhere, a handsome glory of terror facing you and your boat turns upside down.

But after the emergency beacon was activated, Australian authorities sped to the rescue, bringing the couple onto their boat and delivering them to Sydney Harbour on Wednesday night.

"They were equipped with radio equipment and were capable of communicating", he said.

For the time being, they're just happy to be alive and Dwyer expressed his deep gratitude to those involved in the rescue mission.

AMSA sent a broadcast to shipping in the area requesting help, and the container ship ANL Elanora responded.

Officers said the police craft was able to reach the yacht about 8:30am today, despite gale-force southerly winds and six-metre swell.

He said at one point after the yacht had turned upside down, he and Barbara were holding each other, and wondering 'for a split second that seemed to last an eternity, is she going to turn up right? and she did'.

Mr Dwyer praised their rescuers as "absolute heroes" and, in a video interview, he described the terror of the conditions: 'Winds that you can't stand up in, seas breaking, whiteness everywhere'.

"I owe them my life".