Atlantic rower Shirley Thompson rescued after boat takes in water

By Mark Simpson

image captionShirley Thompson is attempting to become the oldest woman to row across the Atlantic

A 60-year-old Belfast woman hoping to become the oldest woman to row solo across the Atlantic has been safely rescued after her boat began taking in water on Day 11 of her voyage.

Until recently Ms Thompson could not swim, but she is an experienced endurance runner and extremely fit.

A member of her support team said Ms Thompson was "safe and on board a helicopter bound for Tenerife".

Tracy Rohan said she had received this information from "the coastguard".

Earlier, she had posted the following update online: "Day 11: We have some bad news. Shirley's boat started to take in water this morning.

"There was a bang and then things started to go wrong. A whale? Who knows.

"The boat was filling up too rapidly and Shirley called for rescue a short while ago."

image captionMs Thompson has endured seasickness during her bid

BBC News NI previously reported that Ms Thompson will not have any boat support, and will be relying on a passing ship to pick her up if she capsizes.

Her chosen route covers 3,000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria to St Barts in the Caribbean.

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