Solo rowers hit by storm

A British woman trying to row solo around the world has been rescued from the Pacific Ocean after her boat capsized in a terrifying storm.

Sarah Outen was plucked from the water by a coastguard vessel 900km off Japan's northeast coast after surviving 15m seas and 96km/h winds.

A second British adventurer, Charlie Martell, was awaiting rescue by the Japanese coastguard after being caught in the same storm as he tried to row solo across the Pacific.

Both rowers were described as "lucky to be alive". They were caught in Tropical Storm Mawar, which hurled around their 7m long boats.

Outen's boat capsized at least 20 times during the storm and she put out a distress call while strapped into her cabin and wearing a helmet to prevent her being dashed against the sides.

After being picked up by the coastguard, she tweeted in relief: "Hooray 4 Japanese always being early!"

She was able to get a message to her UK support team a little later to say that while "tired and knocked about" she was otherwise well.

Jenny Ellery, part of her UK team, said the fear was that the boat might break up during the storm.

"She was very grateful that the boat hung on in there and that each time it capsized it righted itself. She was strapped in to her cabin and was wearing a helmet."

Outen was more than halfway through a 2-year expedition, but now must decide whether to continue her attempt.

Martell was yesterday huddled inside his leaking rowing boat after being battered by the storm.

He is further from land than Outen and the coastguard was not expected to reach him until last night.

His boat, Blossom, suffered structural damage and much of his communications equipment has been wrecked by the storm.

He was able to speak on the radio to a coastguard aircraft that flew overhead and told them that he had not suffered serious injury and was not in any immediate danger.

Adrian Bell, Martell's brother-in-law, said it was the first time that the type of boats had been exposed to such fearsome conditions.

- Independent

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