Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 10:31 UK

'Miracle' of Derbyshire family's yacht crash survival

The stricken yacht Hollinsclough
The yacht had taken on water and suffered engine failure

A father whose family were rescued when their yacht hit an iceberg in the south Atlantic has described their survival as a "miracle".

Carl Lomas, of Chelmerton, was sailing to Cape Town with partner Tracey Worth and their two teenage daughters when the boat hit a hidden mass of ice.

They were rescued by passing warship HMS Clyde as the boat began to sink and were taken to the Falkland Islands.

Mr Lomas said they would not have survived in their life raft.

He added: "We were very aware in the deep southern ocean there is no shipping, we were not expecting to find a ship to rescue us.

"We do believe in God and I think it's a miracle there was an English warship on station within 300 miles of us.

To survive the cold for any length of time was very unlikely
Carl Lomas

"If the warship hadn't been there the yacht would have sunk, we would have got in our distress life raft.

"But the reality we had to face is with the sea temperature -5 degrees in the sun to survive the cold for any length of time was very unlikely."

The 60ft-long (18m) yacht Hollinsclough was 300 miles north-east of South Georgia when it crashed, started taking on water and suffered engine failure on 7 May.

'Traumatic experience'

The couple, who have been sailing around the world since March 2007, were picked up two days later and taken on the four-day journey to the Falklands.

They are due to return home, with daughters Caitland and Morgause, on Saturday.

South Georgia and the Falklands

Mr Lomas described the moment the boat hit the iceberg: "There was the most tremendous noise of breaking glass as we struck the ice.

"We did believe we would get away with it, we were in a very robust yacht, but the following day the boat became more and more unstable.

"By the middle of the day we put out Maydays.

"It was elation when the warship towered into view, we sat together and suddenly starting singing All Things Bright And Beautiful."

He added: "I don't know where we stand on sailing now. We have had a traumatic experience.

"We took every precaution, it was tremendous bad luck."



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SEE ALSO
Iceberg crash family are rescued
09 May 10 |  Derbyshire
Family yacht hits ocean iceberg
08 May 10 |  Derbyshire

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