A team of local rowers survived a wave Saturday morning that capsized and damaged their boat 843 nautical miles shy of completing their transatlantic adventure.
University of Puget Sound graduates Jordan Hanssen and Pat Flemming and Canadians Adam Kreek and Markus Pukonen were shaken but uninjured after being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and a Puerto Rico-bound ship.
At 5:10 p.m. Saturday evening, the crew was safely aboard the Heijan, a car carrier ship, and preparing for dinner, said team spokesman Greg Spooner.
Spooner was awakened by a call from the Coast Guard at 3:50 a.m. informing him that the 29-foot boat’s distress signal had been activated.
Spooner, who was a crew member when the team rowed across the North Atlantic in 2006, called the crew’s families. For hours he waited for verification his friends were alive and uninjured.
Checking the weather, Spooner confirmed it was “perfect rowing weather” at the time of the incident.
“Something happened, but we can’t confirm what,” Spooner said.
Spooner said crew members were wearing life jackets when the James Robert Hanssen, the boat named for Jordan’s father, capsized. The team, OAR Northwest, has successfully rowed across the North Atlantic and around Vancouver Island.
The team left Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 23 headed for Miami.
The boat is designed to right itself, but was too damaged to do so. Spooner said the men swam to the life raft.
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