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Thursday 28 August 2014

Injured Atlantic rower rescued

Published 14/06/2014 | 16:07

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Niall Iain Macdonald made a distress call 100 miles off New York

A rower attempting a solo fundraising voyage across the Atlantic has been rescued by the US coast guard after suffering a back injury.

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Niall Iain Macdonald has been taken to a hospital in the New Jersey area after he was found and taken aboard a coast guard cutter at around 6.30am on Saturday.

He contacted HM Coastguard in Falmouth, Cornwall, on Friday evening at around 8.30pm in what a spokeswoman described as "a considerable amount of pain and distress".

She said Mr Macdonald, who is from Stornoway in the Western Isles, had injured his back in what may have been a weather-related fall.

He was around 100 miles off the coast of New York when he made the call.

Information regarding his location was sent to US colleagues, who confirmed Mr Macdonald had been located and brought aboard the rescue vessel in the early hours of Saturday.

His seven-metre rowing boat was abandoned.

Mr Macdonald, 39, was raising money for the Scottish Association f or Mental Health (SAMH).

He began his 3,400-mile journey in New York on June 5, aiming to reach Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis at the beginning of September, according to his blog.

He wrote: " Only 10 people have successfully rowed solo from west to east across the North Atlantic (more people have walked on the moon!) and no one has ever completed the route that I am undertaking."

The challenge would have involved rowing for 12 hours each day for the three-month period.

Mr Macdonald has lived in the Western Isles for the past 10 years, working in Gaelic radio and television, for the BBC and as a freelance.

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