Three sailors and a dog were rescued from a life raft after their yacht sank in a storm hundreds of miles off Bermuda

Three British sailors and a dog were rescued on Thursday evening after their 49ft yacht sank during a storm.

Leonard Rorke, 55, Lisa Rorke, 50 and Henri Worthalter, 29 and their Jack Russell called Dexter were hundreds of miles off the coast of Bermuda when they were found on board Blue Pearl’s liferaft following two days of Atlantic storms.

“We were preparing to die,” said Rorke. “We were bailing water. It was life and death. We’re very grateful. We are very, very lucky.”

The sailors contended with 25ft waves, winds of up to 40mph and poor visibility as they held on to their raft “for dear life”. Their yacht had sunk after the bulkhead broke up and she began taking on water.

The US Coast Guard was able to locate the stricken sailors using the liferaft’s electronic position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) and direct ships to their location.

The group’s nightmare ended after a 351ft tanker Tilda Kosan diverted course while on its way to Mexico following a message from the International Rescue Centre saying people in a liferaft needed help.

Rorke praised the crew of the tanker, who found them after making three passages in dark and stormy conditions.

“They were 32 nautical miles away in the pitch black.”

“They got the first position and they couldn’t find us and they went back and they got the second position and a third position and then they actually travelled to our second position,” said Mr Rorke.

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