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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 13:23 GMT
Coastguards' 10,000-mile mission
Alex Wylie of Shetland Coastguard
Alex Wylie said coastguards were relieved the sailor was safe
A Shetland yachtsman who became ill on a solo round-the-world voyage was rescued after contacting his girlfriend 10,000 miles away.

Andrew Halcrow, 47, was 350 miles south west of Australia on board his yacht when he was struck down with crippling stomach pains and sickness.

He was able to ring girlfriend Alyson Keillor at their home in Shetland and asked her to get medical help.

She contacted Shetland Coastguard who raised the alarm.

He is well known to us and we are disappointed that he has had to abandon his voyage
Alex Wylie
Shetland Coastguard

The UK coastguard liaison station in Falmouth, Cornwall, was contacted and officers got in touch with their Australian counterparts in Canberra who sent out a spotter plane.

After the aircraft found Mr Halcrow's yacht, the 32ft Elsi Arrub, nearby tanker the Elegant Princess was sent to his aid.

Mr Halcrow was taken on board the vessel where he received treatment. The ship was bound for Albany on Australia's south west coast.

'Hugely grateful'

Ms Keillor said: "Andrew phoned me and said he needed some help because he was having stomach pains.

"I was very worried because I knew if he was asking me to get medical help it was something that was really concerning him.

"I understand he was able to climb on board the tanker and that he is in a stable condition. We are hugely grateful to the captain of the tanker for helping out, as well as the coastguards who have been wonderful."

Mr Halcrow left Shetland in June to sail single-handed around the world. The trip was expected to take him a year to complete.

Alex Wylie, watch manager at Shetland Coastguard, said: "We are pleased that Andrew's condition is not serious.

"He is well known to us and we are disappointed that he has had to abandon his voyage.

"We wish him a speedy recovery."

Ms Keillor added that the tow linking the Elsi Arrub - Burra Isle backwards - with the Elegant Princess had parted, leaving the yacht adrift.


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