Multiple rescues sees calamitous team quit round Britain rowing attempt

A crew attempting to row round Great Britain has quit the marathon effort after being rescued for the second time in days.

The five-strong crew had to be pulled to safety from the GB Row Challenger near the Mull of Kintyre in the early hours of Monday.

The Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was notified of the emergency and a Coastguard helicopter was dispatched.

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They were winched aboard the aircraft unharmed but have now decided to retire from their attempt after being saved twice.

A similar emergency response was launched on June 26 after their boat capsized during a storm off the County Down coast of Northern Ireland.

The boat capsized and was righted by the crew before an HM Coastguard helicopter and RNLI lifeboat arrived on the scene. The recovered rowing boat was later towed to a safe mooring in Ardglass Harbour.

During that weekend, all three crews taking part in the challenge had to be rescued near the coastlines of Northern Ireland and Wales in separate incidents.

The boats were taking part in the GB Row Challenge to circumnavigate Great Britain and collect environmental data in a project with the University of Portsmouth.

The boats was towed to Ardglass, County Down after getting into difficulties during before running into trouble again off the Mull of Kintyre

HM Coastguard said it had responded to a mayday call from the GB Row Challenger vessel at about 00:30 on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said a helicopter was deployed from Prestwick as well as another coastguard team from Campbeltown and two RNLI lifeboats - one from Campbeltown and the other from Cushendall in Northern Ireland.

After Monday's incident, the decision was taken for the crew to retire from the "epic challenge" following advice from the RNLI.

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A spokesman for the GB Row Challenge said: "Collectively, we would like to thank the Coastguard and RNLI who brought the crew from GB Row Challenger to safety last night.

"This followed bad weather and difficult seas off the Mull of Kintyre."

The spokesman added that the crew were "safe and well and extremely grateful for the support they received".

He added: "The crew were collecting data to understand the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems and climate change."

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