Recovery efforts ‘diminishing’ for missing yachtsman John Fisher

The 47-year-old British sailor fell overboard during the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race

John Fisher Volvo Ocean Race Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag
Team Sun Hung Kai’s Scallywag heads out of Auckland on 18 March in the Volvo Ocean Race
(Image credit: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images)

Organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race say a search and rescue operation continues after British yachtsman John Fisher was reported to have fallen overboard.

Fisher, 47 and from Southampton, is a member of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and the incident happened at 2.42pm yesterday, approximately 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn. According to the race control, Fisher was on watch at the time and “wearing survival equipment when he went overboard”. The remaining crew are reported safe.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is leading the search efforts to find Fisher, but weather conditions are forecast to “deteriorate significantly”. The MRCC has requested a ship, which is 400 nautical miles away, to divert to the scene.

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In a statement the Volvo Ocean Race said: “The MRCC continues in attempts to contact other ships that may be able to assist. The weather in the area is forecast to deteriorate significantly in the coming hours.

“Given the severity of the forecast and with nightfall an hour away, we acknowledge the chances of a successful recovery are diminishing.

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“SHK/Scallywag has thus made the difficult decision to turn downwind and head towards the South American coast, the nearest safe landfall, approximately 1,200 nautical miles away.”

The BBC reports that Fisher, who competes for Great Britain, lives in Adelaide and is taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time. The yacht race covers 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

The teams are currently on day nine of leg seven of the event - a 7,600-mile stretch from Auckland in New Zealand to Itajai in Brazil.

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