Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Rowers survive huge storm and oil tanker rescue

Chris Williams and Max Thorpe had been competing in one of the world's toughest ocean rowing races Photo: Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge/Ben Duffy

Two childhood friends from Kent narrowly escaped death when they were rescued by a huge oil tanker in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

Chris Williams and Max Thorpe had been competing as Team Tenzing in one of the world's toughest ocean rowing races, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, but had to call for help when they were hit by a storm almost as strong as a hurricane. A 10-metre wave capsized their boat and their cabin caught fire - leaving them without power or navigation systems.

The pair then had to wait for 16 hours in treacherous conditions to be rescued. And that came in the form of a 25-metre long oil tanker, heading towards them at six knotts. As the tanker crushed their boats, they grabbed a rope and a rope ladder.

Hanging 10 metres down from the deck, in the dark, amid a force nine storm, Max lost his grip. But he managed to swim through huge waves towards a rope dangling off the end of the tanker. They were then pulled to safety.

The pair, who have now returned home to Tunbridge Wells and Ashurst, had been raising money for Cardiac Risk in the Young.