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Stranded Dutch rower rescued from Indian Ocean

31 May 2013, 21:40

Sydney - A Dutch adventurer rowing from Australia to Africa was rescued from the Indian Ocean on Friday after he was injured in a close call with a passing oil tanker, Australian authorities said.

Ralph Tuijn, 36, was well into his 9 000km, 120-day journey from Western Australia when his boat was reportedly swamped on Wednesday.

The rescue mission was triggered early on Friday when Tuijn activated his distress beacon and a Myanmar-flagged merchant vessel nearby was sent to the scene, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

"We have recovered him, he is currently on board the merchant vessel," an AMSA spokesperson told AFP.


"The master reported that he was injured but we're not sure of the full extent of his injuries just yet."

The spokesperson said Tuijn's injuries were not thought to be serious, but he had previously reported that he thought he had some broken ribs.

She said he was extremely lucky to have been picked up so soon from his remote location in the middle of the ocean, about 1 100 nautical miles west of the Cocos Islands.

"It's a pretty well travelled stretch of water but often merchant vessels can be three or four days away and this one was only a couple of hours away," she said.

Bounce back

"He was about a week from Australia by merchant vessel, by row boat he is probably about a month from Australia."

A friend of Tuijn, Geoff Charters, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the adventurer would bounce back from the experience.

"He's a very experienced ocean rower and has dealt with a lot of different dangers on the ocean including lightning storms... I think that was the worst," Charters said.

"He's been attacked by sharks and had close encounters with tankers on the Pacific."



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