Page last updated at 05:53 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

Pacific rower falls short of goal


Rower falls short of goal

An Italian man who was trying to row solo across the Pacific Ocean has had to be rescued just short of his destination in Australia.

The rower, Alex Bellini, had been at sea since leaving Peru in February and was about to reach Sydney.

But he was forced to call for help just 65 nautical miles (120km) away from land as fierce storms battered the eastern coast of Australia.

Mr Bellini said he was nonetheless happy with his achievement.

He would have been only the fifth person to complete the crossing in a rowing boat, a journey of 18,000 kilometres (10,000 nautical miles).

Alex Bellini and his wife Francesca

One of the best moments in my life

Alex Bellini
Reunited with his wife, Francesca

But facing storms and, according to Australian police, "nearing exhaustion", he was forced to radio for help.

A New Zealand tugboat which was in the area towed the adventurer's boat in Newcastle harbour in New South Wales.

"I'm not disappointed. I'm not disappointed at all," he told the AFP news agency.

"I've been not able to reach land... but the crossing has been made.

"I didn't put the cherry on top of the cake. But the cake is very good, very big and I will never forget about it."

He said that seeing his wife Francesca waiting for him was "one of the best moments in my life".

Bellini said that he had not walked more than a few metres since February, as he averaged about 30 miles a day in his 7.5-metre (25-foot) boat.

His body weight dropped by 15kg (33lbs) during his 10 months at sea.

Fear, he added, was his companion on the voyage.

He kept in contact with a support team via a satellite phone and lived on dried food, drinking rain water and purified sea water.

Print Sponsor

Mid-ocean dinner date saves rower
20 Aug 08 |  Americas
Injured rower halts Pacific bid
24 Aug 07 |  Sussex
Lone Briton conquers Pacific
30 Mar 01 |  Asia-Pacific

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific