Tragedy off the Canaries during Force 10 rescue by tanker

A British yachtsman has died during a rescue attempt in force 10 winds off the Canaries. 

Jonathan Farrar, 64, from Norfolk, died before rescuers could transfer him aboard a Norwegian tanker after answering his mayday, 75 nautical miles off the north African coast.


His companion, Timothy Hall, 43, survived but was under medical supervision

aboard the Tordis Knutsen.


The pair had set sail from Lisbon bound for Lanzarote last

Thursday. It is understood they were to stop in the Canary Islands en route

to the Caribbean. But they made an Maybday call on Monday after the yacht, Snooker, was damaged in winds averaging 45 knots and seven metre waves.


A spokesman for the Knutsen OAS shipping company which operates the tanker

told the Telegraph newspaper the details of the dramatic rescue.


“We received a distress call at 7.35am and proceeded at full speed to its

position arriving in sight of the vessel at 9.15am,” said John Dalsvag

in a statement from the shipping company.


“It was extremely difficult to manoeuvre the vessel close to the

sailboat. It was blowing 45 knots and the waves were more than 7 meters.”


Mr Hall was pulled on board the tanker within half an hour later but the

rescue of the second man was delayed when the yacht drifted away forcing the

ship to make a new approach.


“At 10am the sailboat was again alongside and the crew managed to

transfer a lifebuoy. The second person got into the water and was dragged

over to the pilot ladder.”


However the rescue was delayed when a ship’s officer broke his thumb and had

to be taken to the on-board hospital.


“During this time they tried to get the person on-board but due to

extensive fatigue he was so weak that he was not able to hold himself to the

pilot ladder.”


Due to the severe conditions the tanker was unable to launch a rescue boat and

by the time the crew pulled him aboard until he had been in the water for

more than two hours.


“CPR was given but with no success, unfortunately he had to be declared

dead,” reported Mr Dalsvag.