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Three injured sailors flown out by helicopter

Three injured sailors flown out by helicopter

Three injured sailors were airlifted by helicopter from maxiyacht Maximus and another crew abandoned their sinking vessel Wednesday in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Six crew were injured on Maximus when it was dismasted in heavy seas and 30 knot winds overnight and three of them were evacuated to a hospital in Canberra.
A spokeswoman for the helicopter rescue service said the crew members had chest, pelvic and back injuries.
ABN Amro, winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, was also dismasted and was among the seven yachts that have already retired from the annual bluewater classic. Both Maximus and ABN Amro had been leading at stages overnight.
Eight crew members had to be rescued from a life raft after sending out a distress call when 1968 Sydney-Hobart winner Koomooloo started sinking about 60 nautical miles off the coast.
Two helicopters were sent out to the site and helped the crew of Adventure, a race entrant from Britain, take the sailors onboard.
A police motor launch was en route to take the Koomooloo crew back to shore.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Geoff Lavis said the Koomooloo crew could not find where the water was getting into the hull and sinking it was the safest option.
In 1998, six sailors died and seven boats were sunk or abandoned when a terrible storm hit the race.
Organizers were not expecting severe weather this time.
Winds decreased early Wednesday, easing conditions for the 71 yachts still in the race.
Defending champion Wild Oats XI and Skandia were still in front, sticking closer to the coastline and pulling about 25 nautical miles clear of third-place Ichi Ban.
ABN Amro skipper Mike Sanderson said his crew was "bitterly disappointed" to be returning to Sydney instead of racing to Hobart.
"We had a great first night on the water and we had managed to keep right up there," he said. But, "the most important thing is that all the crew are safe and we have had no injuries."
Last year, Wild Oats XI, owned by Sydney businessman Bob Oatley, became the first boat in the race's history to complete the triple of line and handicap honors and a race record.
It wiped more than an hour off the previous time to win the 628-nautical mile (723-mile; 1,163-kilometer) race last year in one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.


Updated : 2021-05-07 00:39 GMT+08:00