Stricken North Sea yacht sinks on way to Norway

The yacht narrowly missed the North Alwyn oil rig

The yacht narrowly missed the North Alwyn oil rig

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A yacht which has been at the centre of a dramatic rescue in the North Sea has sunk during an operation to tow it to safety in Norway.

However, solo yachtsman 82-year-old Julian Mustoe who had initially refused to leave his vessel, Harrier of Down, and be airlifted by a helicopter has now boarded a Norwegian Coastguard cutter heading for Bergen.

The Norwegian Coastguard has confirmed that during the voyage back to port, the Harrier of Down took on too much water which caused it to sink with its tow line still attached.

The crew attempted to pull the yacht up but the line broke and the vessel fell to the sea bed 3000 metres below.

Mr Mustoe got into difficulties 100 miles east of Shetland and drifted towards a gas platform on Tuesday evening.

A UK Coastguard spokeswoman said: “The man who was left drifting in the North Sea after his yacht lost its steering is now on board a Norwegian Coastguard cutter.

“The UK Coastguard has been working with its counterparts in Norway to help the man who was stuck in challenging weather conditions.

“It’s now planned to take him and his yacht - under tow - back to Bergen which is expected to take some hours as it is a prolonged process.”

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