The four women were on a transatlantic row for charity when their boat capsized.

The Falmouth Coastguard coordinated a rescue effort on Saturday to aid a rowing team whose boat had capsized some 400 nautical miles off the coast of Cape Verde.

The all female crew of ocean rowing boat Fire Ant sent out a distress call after they’d lost their oars and important pieces of their equipment, including their GPS.

Once the Coastguard had made contact with the boat by satellite phone, the crew activated their onboard emergency beacon (EPIRB).

Coastguard duty controller Ian Guy said, “The rowers were an extremely long way from land with no other vessels in the immediate vicinity.

“We received several responses to our mayday request, the nearest vessel being 90 nautical miles away. They quickly diverted and set course to the stricken rowers, taking 11 hours to reach them.”

The cargo ship that rescued the team was on its way to Canada and is expected to arrive on or before 24 February. All four team members are reported to be well.

The women rowers — Gemma Chalk, Clare Lanyon, Jane McIntosh and Olivia Wilson — all hail from the UK and were attempting to set a record crossing of the Atlantic from Gran Canaria in Spain to Barbados to raise money for charity.

A statement on the womens’ website said: “Unfortunately, due to broken oars and damage to navigation and safety equipment, the girls have made the difficult decision to abandon their record attempt for this year.

“They transferred to a passing ship. They will be dropped off at the ship’s next port of call in Canada.

“The girls would like to thank all of their supporters. They are also very grateful to Falmouth Coastguard for coordinating their safe transfer to the ship.”


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