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Storm Delays Rescue of Yacht Racer

Aired November 24, 2001 - 11:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Storm weather is preventing workers from rescuing an American sailor taken ill during an Australian yacht race.

As CNN's Tim Lister explains, it may be several days before the sick sailor can even be rescued.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly 3,000 kilometers from the coast of western Australia, an Australian Air Force plane scours the ocean. With just a few minutes of daylight left, it's looking for Amer Sports One, an 18-meter sloop competing in the Round the World Yacht Race.

The seas below are heavy, the winds strong, and the temperatures at sea level are just above freezing. As dusk approaches, the crew of the P-3 arrives to find the yacht. On board, American sailor, Keith Kilpatrick is in agony with an obstructed intestine, tossed around as the small boat plows through steep waves.

He's not been able to eat or drink in several days. The plane dropped several boxes of morphine and other medicine into the freezing ocean and then circled the Amer Sports One, guiding it to the emergency supplies.

A short while later, and half a world away in Southampton, England, the race organizers have good news.

DR. MARK THOMPSON, RACE DOCTOR: My understanding is that they have him on a weather bunk surrounded quite comfortably with, you know, spare spinnakers to keep him as stable as possible.

LISTER: But the 40-year-old Kilpatrick must endure several more uncomfortable days at sea. It will be Monday or even Tuesday before the yacht is close enough to the Australian coast to allow him to be lifted by helicopter to hospital.

Tim Lister, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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