TV clown abandons ship off the Galapagos

Griff Rhys Jones and his wife were forced to jump overboard into shark-infested waters after a yacht they were sailing on caught fire, according to reports.

The comedian and wife Jo, were sailing around the Galapagos Islands off South America, when the captain ordered them to abandon ship after a fire broke out in the engine room.

Only minutes before the captain had warned them sharks, including hammerheads, populated the surrounding seas.

Along with 15 friends and the crew, they jumped into the water from the MV Barranda, and spent 30 minutes in the sea before an American cruise ship rescued them.

A source told The Daily Mirror: “Everyone laughed but they were not quite so jolly when they were swimming for their lives.
“There was a huge sense of panic, especially as you could barely see in front of you because of the smoke. Griff was at the stern of the boat and Jo was at the bow and they lost each other for a good 10 minutes. It was truly terrifying and Jo feared the worst.”

The shipwrecked were taken to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, with many arriving with no ID or money.

The source added: “Some only had their swimming costumes on. It was a logistical nightmare but everyone kept their mood high as each one rallied around. Griff was brilliant and kept cracking jokes to keep everyone’s spirits up.”

A spokesman for Rhys Jones said: “He’s back home and everyone is fine.”
Rhys Jones, 55, is a keen sailor and owns a 45ft yacht Undina, featured last year in Yachting Monthly.

He has starred in two BBC documentaries with Rory McGrath and Mock The Week host Dara O’Briain based on Three Men in a Boat.

The Foreign Office said: “We’re aware of the incident and understand 13 British nationals returned to the UK last weekend.”