British sailor rescued by cruise ship

From the London Times – May 18, 2007. A lone British yachtsman who put out a mayday alert after becoming stranded in the Atlantic was rescued by a neighbour from his village who was captaining a passing cruise ship.

John Fildes, 32, was sick and delirious from lack of food and adrift 4,000 miles (6,400km) from home two days after his yacht lost its mast in a storm.

On Monday, after enduring 48 hours without food on board his 40ft (12m) yacht, his distress call was picked up by a luxury liner, Crown Princess, which changed course and sent a boat to rescue him. As he was hauled on board the 116,000-tonne ship, Mr Fildes discovered that its captain, Alistair Clark, was from his home village of Warsash, near Southampton.

Captain Clark, whose ship had been en route from Bermuda to Puerto Rico, said: “I was glad to be in a position to lend assistance, especially to someone who lives round the corner. It was quite a coincidence and just goes to show what a small world it is.”

Mr Fildes said: “It is utterly bizarre to be found and picked up by him 4,000 or so miles from home. What Captain Clark did was amazing. They were the only people to respond to my mayday and I would say that it was an extremely dangerous operation to recover me.” For the complete report see the London Times.

By Ocean Navigator