Four Norwegian men who were sailing a 44-foot boat across the Atlantic said they were caught in an “inferno” of 15-meter-high waves after sailing into a storm hundreds of kilometers southwest of the Azores. They were rescued by helicopter during the night after drifting at sea for 10 hours.
“We had looked forward to arriving in the Azores, but not in a rescue helicopter,” one of the sailors, Jan Krøger, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday. He is known as a highly experienced sailor as is fellow crew member on board, Guttorm Guttormsen, who has sailed many times with King Harald and once worked as a bodyguard for the monarch. Krøger, Guttormsen and two others were sailing from the Caribbean back to Norway when they were surprised by a severe storm after 11 days at sea.
After battling the winds and waves, experiencing the boat “go around” and losing motor function, they realized they had to abandon the vessel. They managed to get through a call for help late Wednesday morning and the rescue action was handled by Portuguese authorities.
The storm caught many other vessels by surprise as well, and emergency crews handled eight additional rescue operations that involved a US Coast Guard helicopter conducting exercises in the area.
None of the Norwegians suffered serious injury. Krøger suspects the boat eventually sunk.