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Transatlantic rowers rescued by cruise ship after boat sank near Canaries

TWO transatlantic rowers have been rescued from a life raft in the middle of the ocean after their small boat apparently sank in rough seas.

Tom Sauer and Tom Fancett were rescued by a cruise ship after 10 hours in the raft almost 500 miles south west of the Canary Islands, coastguards said.

Fancett who is British and Sauer, who has twin Dutch/Russian nationality according to their Team Tom website, left the Canary Islands in December to row to the Bahamas in the 2011 Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race.

Falmouth Coastguard, which co-ordinated the rescue, said the emergency beacon from the men's boat, 8.6 metre PS Vita, was triggered at around 7.54pm yesterday, 480 miles from the Canary islands. The nearest ship, the Bahamian-registered cruise ship Crystal Serenity was 120 miles away.

"The Crystal Serenity turned back and proceeded at speed through the night to the position and within seven miles of the position they spotted a red flare," a coastguard spokesman said.

"Shortly afterwards at about 6am they located the two rowers in their life raft who were recovered on board the cruise ship.

"The two rowers are reported to be uninjured despite at least 10 hours in their life raft. Conditions on scene were 25 knots wind with a three-metre swell."