Egyptians Omar Samra and Omar Nour rescued after storm ends their Atlantic Challenge row

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(Photo credit: Ben Duffy)

Egyptian pair Omar Samra and Omar Nour — Team O2 — survived a storm that capsized their boat and left them deserted for 12 hours in the ocean before they were rescued by a cargo ship, as the pair saw their Atlantic Challenge campaign come to an end.

Samra and Nour were attempting to become the first Egyptians to row across the Atlantic ocean as part of a race that set off from San Sebastian de La Gomera in Spain on Thursday December 14 towards Antigua.

Their first week on the boat was rough, with power frequently shutting off on the boat, which meant they had to manually hand-pump drinking water, and with difficult weather conditions working against them, leaving them exhausted, dehydrated, and sea-sick.

On Friday morning, the official Facebook account of the race, Atlantic Campaigns, posted the news that the emergency beacon of Team O2’s boat was set off and that they had been unable to communicate with them.

The following message was later posted on the team’s social channels on Saturday night explaining what happened.

“Yesterday (Friday) at 8.30am, Team 02 were hit by 45 knot winds that caused their boat to capsize – their boat did not self-right,” read the post.

“The 12 hours that followed became a survival story of epic proportions.

“The team is now safe onboard a 200m Greek-German cargo ship that came to their aid and was able to bring them onboard after 3-4 hours of rescue attempts in worsening conditions. Omar Nour and Omar Samra finally made it aboard the vessel last night at 8:45p.m. It also turns out that the ship’s captain and senior officers are Egyptian…what are the chances?!

“The ship is not fancy by any means but the 19 men on the ‘Kefalonia’ have provided them with generous support and hospitality. The two Omars now have a hot meal in their bellies and the first full night of sleep in days – they are incredibly happy to be safe and alive to tell their tale.

“Luckily, the ship is bound for Northern Spain and should hopefully reach port by December 28th – the boys should be back home for New Year’s. Once back, they will be recounting the details of their survival story.

“The past 24 hours have made it clear just how dangerous an expedition such as this can be – and how important it is to have professional and supportive partners. Team O2 have to thank DHL Express for their support over the past year. Team O2 might not have made it to Antigua but this is not the end of their adventure.”

Nour is diabetic and since the cargo ship that rescued them did not have insulin on-board, him and Samra were evacuated by a helicopter and made it to Tenerife on Sunday morning.

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