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Photographs reveal drama of sea rescue

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Dramatic photographs of the moment the shipwrecked crew of a yacht were plucked to safety in stormy seas have been released by the boat's skipper.

Len Rorke, whose Blue Pearl sank after being battered by 25-foot waves nearly 1,000 miles off Bermuda, wife Lisa and crewman Henri Worthalter were forced to abandon ship after a bulkhead failed and their vessel began to flood.

The crew of the British-registered LPG tanker Tilda Kosan — en route from England to Mexico — diverted from its course in a rescue bid and hauled them to safety.

The pictures show Mr Rorke throwing the couple's pet Jack Russell terrier Dexter to crewman aboard the massive tanker before the three crew were saved from the sea.

The four arrived on the Island earlier this week — and are now preparing to travel home after everything they owned went down with the 50-foot Blue Pearl.

Mr Rorke said: “We are indebted to the Bermudian people and this Island for the safety and security it has provided us.”

Mr Worthalter will travel to his homeland of Belgium via London today, while Mr and Mrs Rorke and Dexter are expected to fly out on Sunday to visit relatives in the US before travelling on to the UK.

A family member has opened a special fund in the US to assist the couple, who were left with only the clothes they were wearing when the Blue Pearl sank.

Anyone who wishes to contribute should use Oakland University Credit Union account Blue Pearl Recovery Effort, routing number 272479663, account number 546370-08, Swift number MSUCUS44.

In an exclusive interview with The Royal Gazette published yesterday, the three praised the heroism and seamanship of the Tilda Koson's crew, who manoeuvred the massive ship right next to their fragile life raft in the dark and in rough seas.

Tilda Koson's Captain Jose Noel Dionisio admitted that the rescue was accomplished “against all odds” amid “terrifying weather conditions.”

But he added that he and his crew were determined to follow the law of the sea — which dictates that ship's masters should respond immediately to Mayday calls.

Capt Dionisio said: “Deep down inside our hearts and minds we know and made well clear that we have only one goal and that is to save lives.

“And this goal optimised our adrenalin that overcame our fears and hesitations and that made this mission a success.”

He added: “I would like to thank all my officers and crew for a job very well done.

“I am so proud of them, their courage, bravery and determination are exceptional.”

And he told the three: “You are accounted as part of the Tilda Kosan family from the time we saved you and for sure we will miss you.”

Sea rescue: The rescued trio from the Blue Pearl, including dog Dexter, and crew of the tanker Tilda Kosan
Drama: This picture, taken from the deck of the tanker ship Tilda Kosan, shows the three-person crew of the Blue Pearl, and their pet dog Dexter, being rescued from a life raft many hours after they had abandoned the Blue Pearl as it sank about 1,000 miles from Bermuda.
Drama: This picture, taken from the deck of the tanker ship Tilda Kosan, shows the three-person crew of the Blue Pearl, and their pet dog Dexter, being rescued from a life raft many hours after they had abandoned the Blue Pearl as it sank about 1,000 miles from Bermuda.

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Published May 01, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated April 30, 2014 at 11:59 pm)

Photographs reveal drama of sea rescue

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