UK sailor may be stranded after Pacific shipwreck

Published:  19 Jun at 6 PM
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A British yachtsman could be stranded on an uninhabited, faraway Pacific island now that his 50 foot yacht was destroyed in the sea near Tonga. Ian Thompson, an experienced yachtsman in his 60s, along with an unnamed yachtsman from Australia, have been declared missing since an urgent call was placed from their yacht (Navillus) to a relative, on Thursday night.

Search teams discovered the wreckage of the boat, including an un-used life raft as well as the hull, close to the island of Late, which is west of Vava'u island. The vessel belonged to Mr Thompson, who is a dual British-Australian citizen. He was supposedly travelling from the Caribbean to Bundaberg, Queensland, where he was going to live out his retirement.

A rescue group will attempt to reach Late to do a thorough search. However, high sea swells have stopped the rescuers from reaching the island, even though the key landing points have been examined.

For 20 years, Mr Thompson had been living in Adelaide, working as a ship's captain as well as a marine pilot, taking big ships to dock. Friends know him as “very cautious” in terms of sea safety, said the Adelaide Advertiser.

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