Swedes arrive in Del. after rescue at sea

Sailboat rescue

Two people from the sailboat Bull took to their life raft when the boat began taking on water near Bermuda on Saturday. They were rescued by the ship Crown Sapphire.Coast Guard/Crown Sapphire

Two stranded Swedes, rescued Saturday from a sinking sailboat off Bermuda, came ashore Monday night at the Port of Wilmington.

The man and woman aren't descendants of the Swedes who settled the state, nor do they have any ties to Delaware. Wilmington was the next stop of the ship that rescued them, said Petty Officer First Class Nick Ameen, a Coast Guard spokesman in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Crown Sapphire was bringing fruit from Argentina to Wilmington, shipping records say. The captain said he was not authorized to comment.

The couple has a $400 piece of equipment and a volunteer network to thank for its rescue, Coast Guard officials say.

Professional skydiver Niklas Carlberg, 35, of Visby, Sweden, and his companion Karin Wiger, 24, of Växjö, Sweden, were safe Monday night at the Seamen's Center of Wilmington.

They paused from arranging a Tuesday morning train trip to New York and flight home to Sweden to recount their ordeal.

They were a little more than a week into what was to be a three-month voyage on Carlberg's 33-foot, Swedish-flagged sailboat called Bull – heading home from Florida in rough waters – when the boat began to take on water.

It was coming in near the propeller, he said, but not a seal leak.

"We'd been taking on water for four days," he said, but the two bilge pumps were keeping up. The boat also battled 35-40 knot winds, gusting to 45 knots. "So we really hadn't slept in about three days," he said.

They still ate a little. "Lots of Snickers," Carlberg said, "and one night I made ravioli, but we had to eat it out of cans" as the ship tossed.

"Then one of our bilge pumps stopped working and we were taking on more than we were pumping out," he said.

That's when he sent out a distress notification on the Bull's emergency position-indicating radio beacon

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