Shetland man's abandoned yacht found in Southern Ocean

A Shetland solo yachtsman who sparked an international rescue when he was struck down with a burst appendix in the Southern Ocean has been told that his boat has been found 170 miles off Australia. Andrew Halcrow, 47, was 350 miles south-west of Australia on 32-foot yacht Elsi Arrub last December when he was struck down with severe abdominal pain

He managed to ring girlfriend Alyson Keillor, 10,000 miles away at their Shetland home, and asked her to get medical help via coastguards. Alyson contacted Shetland Coastguard who contacted the UK Coastguard liaison station in Falmouth. Officers there got in touch with their Australian counterparts in Canberra who sent out a spotter plane, locating Halcrow just four-and-a-half hours after his initial phone call.

Halcrow was airlifted off a nearby cargo ship and taken to hospital where he had his appendix removed. ‘By the time I got into hospital and they operated on me, the appendix had burst and there was really quite a mess inside. I was very lucky. Another 24 hours and I would not have been here’, the father of three said at the time.

The plan now is for the yacht to be towed to land.

Halcrow left Shetland in June 2006 to sail single-handed around the world. The trip was expected to take him a year to complete. He has owned Elsi Arrub for 20 years, and between 1988 and 1993 sailed her around the world with brother Terry.

Picture: Andrew Halcrow leaving Burra on 27 June this year. Credit: Elaine Tait