Atlantic adventurer Mark Beaumont tells of survival battle
MARK Beaumont, the Scots adventurer whose failed attempt to cross the Atlantic ended in a dramatic 14-hour battle for survival, has spoken for the first time of how he feared he would never see his family again.
The 29-year-old was left stranded in a life raft with his five crew mates after their 32ft boat capsized after being struck by two huge waves on 30 January.
Attempting to break the world record for crossing the ocean, the crew had embarked on 2 January from Tarfaya in Morocco, intent on rowing 3,500 miles to Port St Charles in Barbados in fewer than 30 days, and bettering the world record of 33 days.
Instead the crew were left clinging to a life raft with limited water and food, but were rescued by a cargo vessel 500 miles off Barbados.
“It’s only later, when it’s over and you can’t get it out of your mind, that you realise how close you came to dying”, said Beaumont, who achieved international fame after cycling around the world in a record time of 194 days.
“That’s when emotion takes over and, yes, you shed tears and debate whether you are ever going to put your loved ones through this again. I was thinking about my fiancée and my mum. We were fighting for our lives and they did not know if we were going to make it.”
Beaumont described how the waves hit their vessel, at the precise moment the crew switched rowing shifts, when both cabin hatches were open. Had the waves hit when they were sealed, the boat would have righted itself as the air acts as a buoyancy aid.
The six crew members escaped the vessel but Beaumont, from Perthshire, had to free the life raft in case the vessel sank, then return to rescue two GPS rescue beacons. After 14 hours the crew were rescued.
“I can’t remember a word I said to Nicci [his fiancée] or mum on stepping ashore” he said. “I probably told them I wouldn’t put them through anything like that again.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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