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Learning English - Words in the News
09 January, 2006 - Published 16:34 GMT
Atlantic rowers

Two rowers trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean have been rescued by a tanker. The pair, who are both from Ireland, were taking part in the Atlantic rowing race and they were rescued after spending six hours in a life-raft. This report by James Helm.

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The men were rescued more than two thousand kilometres southeast of the island of Bermuda from a life-raft which was floating beside their upturned boat. They were saved by the crew on board a huge Spanish tanker, who answered their distress call and hauled the men on board in heavy seas and high winds.

Gearoid Towey and Ciaran Lewis, both from Ireland, had begun the race in the Canary Islands at the end of November and were heading for the Caribbean island of Antigua. But in a storm they lost the use of the rudder on their small rowing boat and it quickly capsized. US coastguards picked up an emergency beacon signal and ships in the area were alerted.

Mr Towey said he thought he was certain to drown but he managed to swim to find his friend. They then settled down for a long wait in the middle of the ocean.

The Spanish vessel, the Hispania Spirit, diverted to help and the crew saw a red flare. The two rowers then clambered safely on board, uninjured. They said they were disappointed their race was over, but were simply happy to be alive. And family members back in Ireland expressed their delight. The ship carrying them is due to reach Spain at the weekend.

Listen to the words

an extra boat for emergencies

turned over or capsized

a large ship that carries oil

distress call
a call for help

heavy seas
big waves

high winds
strong winds

helps change the boat’s direction

rowing boat
a small boat that you push through the water with oars

emergency beacon signal
a light or a sound used to call for help

to reach Spain
to arrive in Spain

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