Four British women have been rescued after becoming stranded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean for more than 16 hours when their rowing boat capsized, robbing them of their oars.
The crew sent a distress signal at 9.08am on Saturday, when they were 400 nautical miles from Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.
Gemma Chalk, Clare Lanyon, Jane McIntosh and Olivia Wilson were forced to abandon their charity attempt to break the women's speed record for rowing nearly 3,000 miles across the Atlantic between Gran Canaria and Barbados.
Their ocean rowing boat Fire Ant had capsized several times, causing them to lose the oars and global positioning system and leaving them with no way to navigate or manoeuvre.
After managing to contact them on a satellite phone, the UK Coastguard asked them to activate an emergency beacon before sending a mayday broadcast to other ships in the area.
The quartet, who are said to be "well", were finally rescued at 1.25am on Sunday by a bulk carrier on its way to Canada.
UK Coastguard duty controller Ian Guy said: "The rowers were an extremely long way from land with no other vessels in the immediate vicinity. We received several responses to our mayday request, the nearest vessel being 90 nautical miles away, they quickly diverted and set course to the stricken rowers, taking 11 hours to reach them.
"This shows you how important it is to be prepared for your voyage and have several means of contacting the coastguard or raising an alarm, even if you are not in UK waters.
"Thankfully the rowers are now on board the bulk carrier and all are reported to be well."
The crew started their attempt, which was to raise money for Barnardo's and Forces Children's Trust, on January 26 as they chased the current record of 45 days, 15 hours and 26 minutes.
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
1/18 23 June 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017
2/18 22 June 2017
Cosplay fans (L-R) George Massingham, Abbey Forbes and Karolina Goralik travel by tube dressed in Harry Potter themed costumes, after a visit to one the literary franchise's movie filming locations at Leadenhall Market in London, Britain
3/18 22 June 2017
Racegoers cheer on their horse on Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London
4/18 21 June 2017
A reveller walks among the tipi tents at the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England
5/18 20 June 2017
A police officer lays some flowers passed over by a member of the public, close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, after one man died and eight people were taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrian
The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack
People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack
A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London
Vivenne Westwood walks the runway at the Vivenne Westwood show during the London Fashion Week Men's June 2017 collections
Millwall fan and London Bridge hero Roy Larner on 'Good Morning Britain'
Richard Arnold, Roy Larner, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on 'Good Morning Britain'
15/18 11 June 2017
England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
16/18 11 June 2017
England players celebrate with the trophy after the final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Venezuela and England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
17/18 11 June 2017
Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates winning the Elite Men Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
18/18 11 June 2017
Two men drink beer outside the Southwark Tavern which reopened for business today next to an entrance to Borough Market which remains closed in London
A spokesman for the Fire Ant crew said: "Following damage to Fire Ant caused during a capsize incident yesterday and after discussions with shore support and UK Coastguard, the girls have decided it is unwise to continue with their attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean.Reuse content