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SYDNEY, Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corp., June 28) - Two Australian men rescued from the Coral Sea should be brought back to land by the end of the week.

The two Australian men, aged 51 and 49, were rescued by a French fishing boat just after 12:00 p.m.

Their 13-metre yacht La Vaudoise ran aground in the Bellona Reef region of the Coral Sea early this morning.

Australian Marine Safety Authority spokesman Neil Smail says the men were traveling from Nouméa to Brisbane when their yacht became stranded.

"It can be a fairly difficult area but on this occasion we don't actually know how they came to be grounded," he said.

Smail says both the men are in a good condition and the fishing boat that rescued them should arrive back in New Caledonia in about two days.

One of the men is believed to be the boat's Sydney-based owner, Pierre Metraux.

Sydney Amateur Sailing Club commodore Robert Evans says Metraux is well known by fellow members because of his inflatable dinghy.

"It's one of these rubber-duckie things and it's noted for the leak it has," he said.

"And he would be seen rowing very quickly from one end of the bay to the other with the thing rapidly deflating with him in the middle.

"Fortunately the dinghy is still in the boatshed, he didn't take it with him in his life raft, so he had something else to get into this morning."

June 29, 2006

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