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French Sailor Rescued

An Australian navy helicopter carried French sailor Isabelle Autissier to safety after she spent more than four days stranded in her stricken yacht in the Southern Ocean.

Autissier, 38, who was competing in the BOC Round the World race, was rescued 750 nautical miles south of Adelaide in South Australia state.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman David Gray said Autissier was in good health after her ordeal but would be given a precautionary medical examination later today on board the guided-missile destroyer HMAS Darwin.

Autissier was lifted off by winch from her stricken 18-meter yacht the Ecureuil Poitou Charentes II by the crew of the Sea Hawk helicopter and then transferred to the deck of the HMAS Darwin just later than 7 a.m.

“I am in good shape, but a little tired,” Autissier said in a telephone interview. “For me, personally, it is not too grave. It was certainly harsh to lose my yacht, but realistically there was no other solution.”

Autissier had wallowed in the stormlashed ocean since her yacht lost its makeshift mast on Wednesday. A large hole also was smashed in its cabin roof, flooding a rear compartment and knocking out the steering equipment.