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Man Attempting To Row Solo From San Francisco To Australia Rescued Off Maui

HONOLULU (CBS SF) -- A 32-year-old man who was attempting to row solo from San Francisco to Australia has been rescued off Hawaii after his boat suffered a damaged rudder, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday.

Ruihan Yu, a Chinese national, left San Francisco in his 18-foot vessel on June 9th.

Officials at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu first learned of Yu's situation at 8:16 a.m. Tuesday, via a relayed call from Sector San Francisco. A friend of Yu's reported him in a potential distress situation due to the content of a text message received from Yu on a two-way satellite communication device.

A HC-130 Hercules aircrew was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to the scene and established communication with Yu by dropping him a VHF radio. He relayed his concerns to the aircrew, but stated he was in no immediate danger.

He told the Coast Guard that he had suffered communication failures and a his boat had a damaged rudder.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Honolulu, responded and towed the vessel to a about a mile off Kahului Harbor where they passed the tow over to a Coast Guard Station Maui.

"It's always a good feeling to save someone at sea, and yesterday was no different," said LTJG Peter Driscoll, executive officer of the Oliver Berry. "We were able to assist Mr. Yu and he can now attempt repairs and completion of his voyage safely."

Yu plans to stay in Maui until repair parts and a new Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon are delivered so he can effect repairs and continue his voyage to his final destination of Australia.

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