Three men – two Australians and one man from the United Kingdom – were found stranded in the South Pacific near New Caledonia on Thursday. New Caledonia is a French territory just over 900 miles east of Brisbane, Australia.
A thick rope had entangled itself in the mariner’s engine and ripped a hole in the vessel. Ben Johnson, one of the men on board told The Australian via Newsweek, “It was just panic stations. We had manual pumps, bilge pumps going non-stop.” But their efforts we to no avail as the ship took on more and more water.
Luckily Johnson was able to call his wife who then alerted officials in Noumea, New Caledonia of their predicament and a rough estimate of their location. A P&O Cruise vessel, the Pacific Dawn, was near the area on its way to Brisbane and carrying 2,000 passengers. The cruise immediately diverted its course and made straight for the helpless seafarers.
By the time the three men on the sinking ship heard help was on the way, Johnson said, they’d “abandoned ship by then because [they] were listing. She [the yacht] was in very bad shape.” Climbing into their life raft, the three men waited for the Pacific Dawn to arrive. As a rescue vessel from the cruise ship was retrieving the three men, the yacht they were sailing on fully sank into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Johnson looks back on their situation and can only express his gratitude, “Oh my god, it was just emotion… I was so grateful. I was looking at spending the whole night at sea and we only had to spend two and a half hours in the life raft.”
The men are now joining the tail-end of the seven-day cruise to Brisbane and are scheduled to arrive on Saturday.
It’s been a busy day for P&O Cruise ships coming to the rescue, as another one of their vessels was in the process of saving 20 stranded migrants halfway around the world in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday as well.
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