Famous Swiss sailor Laurent Bourgnon missing in French Polynesia
by Risa Merl
Famed Swiss sailor Laurent Bourgnon has gone missing while diving in French Polynesia, local authorities report.
Laurent Bourgnon was travelling on his yacht with four guests and three crew members in the Toau Archipelago, about 400 kilometres from Tahiti. According to the Papeete Rescue Center in Tahiti, the 49-year-old Laurent Bourgnon went scuba diving on his own while the guests went diving with an instructor. When he failed to return after the dive, the yacht’s crew members reported Bourgnon missing on Wednesday afternoon, June 24.
A rescue helicopter was sent to search the area on Wednesday afternoon, but they did not recover missing sailor Laurent Bourgnon, and the search was due to resume yesterday. So far, he has not been discovered.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Laurent's brother Yvan Bourgnon said he will join the research crew "to look for my brother night and day, as long as there will be hope. Laurent is a fighter, I know he can hold out several days adrift in the open sea."
An accomplished sailor, Laurent Bourgnon has won multiple races and attempted record breaking sails, setting both the record for solo transatlantic crossing and the record for distance travelled in 24 hours in 1994. Laurent Bourgnon won the Route du Rhum transatlantic sailing race twice, in 1994 and 1998.