Dramatic moment sailors saved from sinking boat after it was attacked by sharks

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Three sailors had to be rescued after their boat was damaged by ‘several’ shark attacks.

A large part of the inflatable catamaran’s stern was torn away when it was attacked by multiple sharks in the Coral Sea, off the northeast coast of Australia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the boat was sailing from Vanuatu to Cairns when the sharks attacked. Both hulls of the vessel were damaged.

The Tion, a nine-metre catamaran, was sailing on a round-the-world expedition and its crew set off an emergency positioning beacon about 519 miles southeast of Cairns early on Wednesday morning.

Rescue crews responded to the beacon and AMSA requested the assistance of a Panama-flagged vehicle carrier, the vehicle-carrying Dugong Ace, which successfully conducted the rescue.

A rescue plane also flew to the scene, capturing images of the catamaran starting to sink.

The three passengers – two Russian and one French citizen aged between 28 and 64 – are due to arrive in Brisbane on Thursday.

The three men on board the boat were unharmed, said Anna Kosikhina, a spokesperson for the voyage, which began two years ago and aimed to promote Russia and Siberia.

‘They were all intact. Nobody is hurt,’ she said.

‘The only thing is that the balloons of the inflatable catamaran were blown away.’

This was not the first accident on the voyage, Kosikhina said, with the steering device of a previous vessel failing during a previous leg from Chile to Easter Island.

‘The three males were very happy to be rescued, and they’re all healthy and well,’ added Joe Zeller, duty manager at the agency’s Canberra response centre.

He said the GPS-encoded emergency beacon had saved the men’s lives by allowing rescuers to quickly pinpoint their location and mount an appropriate rescue.

Mr Zeller added there were many reasons why a shark may attack a boat, ‘however, the motivations of these sharks is unclear’.

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