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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 11:11 GMT
Surgery for yacht accident QC
Mr Thompson was on the yacht, the Avocet
Mr Thompson was on the yacht, the Avocet
A Northern Ireland QC is preparing for surgery after he was critically injured in a yachting accident in the Caribbean.

John Thompson from Carnalea near Bangor was competing in a transatlantic yacht race when he was hit by the boom of the sail during storms last Friday.

The boat was in a race from the Canary Islands when the accident happened.

He remains in a critical condition after suffering a serious head injury to the left side of his face.

It happened as a storm blew up as they neared St Lucia.

The injured lawyer was then transferred to a cruise ship with two doctors on board and then taken ashore at Barbados.

The operation on his face is due to take place on Thursday.

It is understood that Mr Thompson, who is in his 50s, owned the yacht, the Avocet, which was taking part in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

'Strong winds'

Gary Marshall who has taken part twice in the ARC race said it was a very challenging event, spanning 2,800 miles of ocean.

"The good thing with the ARC is that so many boats take part, that you are in communication with other boats within a five/10 mile radius," he said.

Map of St Lucia

Terry Bent, a reporter on St Lucia, said the weather in the area had been unseasonable.

"Winds normally here at this time of year tend to blow in from the easterly which would have been behind the yachts crossing to St Lucia," he said.

"They suddenly found themselves pushing into a head wind and the seas have also become quite rough.

"The wind has got quite strong and I believe this is all associated with the new storm that's now been upgraded to a tropical storm, Olga, which is in the north Caribbean."

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