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British Sailors Rescued From Sea

May 18, 2002

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PERTH, Australia (AP) _ Two British sailors whose 23-foot boat capsized during an attempt to row across the Indian Ocean were rescued Saturday after clinging to the hull of their overturned vessel for 14 hours in heavy seas.

Rescue officials said a merchant ship, the Bulk Africa, picked up Simon Chalk, 29, and Bill Greaves, 41, both of Devon, England. The men who were two days into a trip that was expected to take more than two months and cover 4,400 nautical miles.

They had planned to row nonstop from Australia to Reunion Island, a French territory east of Madagascar on the other side of the ocean. They departed Wednesday, setting out from Kalbarri, Australia, about 370 miles north of Perth.

Chalk and Greaves turned their emergency distress beacon on late Friday night, and a search was launched.

Search spokesman Ben Mitchell said the men were taken ashore by helicopter. ``They’re believed to be uninjured and quite lucky,″ Mitchell said.

The men were trying to beat the 64-day record set in 1931 by Sweden’s Anders Svedlund, the only other person to row the route.

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