It’s an adventurous sailing family’s worst nightmare come true. In a tragic turn of events, a six-year-old girl has died after her family’s sailing yacht sank in the mid-Atlantic during a fierce storm that brought down four yachts.
The couple and their two children were travelling on a French-flagged sailboat when they encountered severe weather 560 miles south of the Azores island chain. As the yacht went down, the mother and nine-year-old son managed to make it onto the lifeboat while the father and young daughter clung to the sinking vessel, all the while battered by tremendous 10 metre waves.
According to the Portuguese Navy, which rescued the girl and her father, this is just one of four yachts that experienced trouble during this storm. There were a total of 12 people rescued from these four yachts in what the Portuguese Navy is calling an unusually busy 24-hour spell for emergency calls.
Two passing merchant ships were involved in the rescue attempts, one of which rescued the French sailboat’s mother and son. A plane spotted the father and daughter and were able deliver an inflatable life raft for them to climb into. They were both rescued, but the girl later died with the cause noted as hypothermia, the Navy reported yesterday.
Diverted from a joint naval exercise, the Portuguese Air Force and US Coast Guard also responded to distress calls and aided the amazing rescues of the other yachts in trouble.