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British soldiers rescue five tourists after boat capsizes in Atlantic

British soldiers on a sailing expedition in the Atlantic Ocean have saved the lives of five German and Swiss tourists after their boat capsized.

The group of sailors got into trouble after their yacht lost its keel and turned over around five miles south of Punta Rasca, the southernmost point on the island of Tenerife.

All five were thrown into the water as strong winds caused hazardous conditions in the area.

British skipper Colonel Neil Wilson, 51, was on board the St Barbara V and saw the accident happening.

Col Wilson, of the Royal Artillery, was on a training expedition with Jon Johnson, Luke Templeton, James Lambden, Peter Edwards, Joshua Roughton, Paul Burnett and Matthew Fisher.

The capsized boat as seen from the St Barbara V. Pic: CEN
Image:
The capsized boat as seen from the St Barbara V. Pic: CEN

But their training voyage turned into a full-scale rescue operation as they sailed to the aid of the tourists.

Col Wilson said: “They were very lucky that we were this close. We threw ropes towards them and were first able to pull three men out of the 20-degrees warm water.

“During the second attempt, we saved a woman and then another man.”

All five tourists were unharmed and the rescue lasted around 30 minutes.

The Tyger of London being salvaged some days later. Pic: CEN
Image:
The Tyger of London being salvaged some days later. Pic: CEN

According to German media reports, the chances of the German-Swiss crew surviving in the water would have been slim but for the British sailors.

Lance Bombardier Luke Templeton said: “There was a sigh of relief once we had all five down in the saloon, and it was time to power back to Las Galletas [on Tenerife].

“Other Brits and Dutch sailors heard the Mayday call and were waiting for us at the marina to help offload the stressed and cold casualties.”

The capsized yacht, Tyger of London, remained adrift in the Atlantic for several days, but was eventually salvaged.

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