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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 11:19 GMT
Blake's body flown back to Britain
Blake with Americas Cup
Sir Peter was shot in the back by pirates
The body of Sir Peter Blake, the yachting legend killed by pirates in Brazil, is being returned to the UK.

His coffin was taken to Sao Paulo, where it was put on a British Airways flight, which was arriving in London on Tuesday.

Sir Peter's ship Seamaster was awaiting customs clearance off the town of Macapa in Brazil when a gang of intruders stormed on board.

New Zealander Sir Peter tried to fight them off, but was killed by two shots in the back during the incident on 6 December.

Blake with wife Pippa
Blake celebrating a second America's Cup victory
The funeral of Sir Peter, 53, who had lived in Hampshire since the 1970s, will take place on Friday at St Thomas-a-Beckett parish church in Warblington.

Representatives of the New Zealand Government will join Sir Peter's widow, Lady Pippa, and their two teenage children for the funeral.

Sir Peter, who was knighted in 1995, was best known for leading the New Zealand yacht team to victory in 1995 and 2000 in the America's Cup, the sport's most prestigious team competition.

The United Nations Environment Programme appointed him as a goodwill ambassador in July.

'Message heard'

Sir Peter was travelling in the Amazon as part of a five-year round-the-world expedition to study the effects of global warming and pollution when pirates killed him.

Don Robertson, a member of Seamaster's crew, said in a statement: "We would like to believe Sir Peter's work was not in vain."

Sir Peter and a crew of 10 were returning from a two-month stay in the upper reaches of the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers.

Mr Robertson and other crew members were accompanying Sir Peter's body on the flight home.

Seven men have been detained by Brazilian police suspected of killing Sir Peter.

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