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Clipper race: Britons injured on yacht return to land

  • 3 April 2012
  • From the section UK

Two British sailors injured when a wave crashed into their yacht have been returned to land.

Jane Hitchens, 50, from Kent, and 29-year-old Nik Brbora from London were injured on the yacht Geraldton Western Australia.

They were rescued by a US Coast Guard cutter and have now reached San Francisco.

The huge wave crashed into their boat during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Ms Hitchens, the onboard doctor, has suspected broken ribs and is being treated with oxygen. Mr Brbora has a suspected pelvic strain.

Both are said to be "in good spirits" and after reaching San Francisco Bay were transferred by ambulance to Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California.

Image caption Nik Brbora, from London, has a suspected pelvic strain

Four sailors - three of them Britons and an Australian - suffered a range of injuries during a storm in the Pacific Ocean, 400 miles off California.

The other two injured crew are likely to remain on the boat until it docks in San Francisco Bay later today.

The crew were taking part in the biennial Clipper Round The World Yacht Race when the wave hit the boat in a storm on Saturday, sweeping away its steering wheel, mount and some of its communications equipment.

Mark Burkes, 47, from Worcestershire, who was on the helm at the time of the incident, sustained a back injury, but has been taken off the casualty list.

And Max Wilson, 62, from Queensland, Australia, who also has suspected broken ribs, has been able to move around.

The rest of the 16-strong crew on the boat are said to be uninjured but shaken.

The 40,000-mile (64,500km) race, which features predominantly amateur crews, started in Southampton in July last year and competitors are due to return to the city after a year.

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