AN elderly Norwegian couple last night paid an emotional 'thank you' to the Irish Naval Service for saving them from horrendous seas after a dream voyage turned into a nightmare.
Erik (62) and Gretta (62) Ostberg from Haugesund in Norway were enjoying warm food and drinks in Castletownbere after they were escorted there when their yacht was badly damaged by raging seas in the mid-Atlantic.
"We are very happy to be ashore. We were very worried when the mast came down," Mr Ostberg said.
"We are very grateful to the Irish Navy. I do not know what we would have done without them."
Their yacht, the 10m wooden-hulled 'Alice II', lost both its bowsprit and main mast in raging seas three days ago.The accident happened as they were en route from the Azores to the Hebrides and then back to Norway.
The main mast destroyed their VHF antenna as it fell, so the couple were unable to issue a mayday alert.
They eventually spotted the French trawler, 'Bikain', using flares to signal their distress. The trawler escorted them to the Naval Service vessel, LE Aoife, under Lt Cdr Aoife Downing.
Both Norwegians were taken on board the Irish ship and two sailors were placed on the stricken yacht which was towed to shore.