FOUR rowers who were airlifted to safety after their boat began sinking during a race across the Pacific have spoken about their rescue.

Fraser Hart, 34, from Tunbridge Wells, Sam Collins, 25, from Cornwall, James White, 36, from London, and Colin Parker, 36, from Auckland, New Zealand, were taking part in the Great Pacific Race.

The crew set off to row the 2,400 nautical miles from Monterey, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, on Wednesday.

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But within a day their boat began taking on water, which seeped through its watermaker hatch into the main cabin.

The crew used an electric bilge pump to keep the problem at bay but the boat began to gain weight and water came in faster than they could bail it out.

On Friday the boat's electrics failed, leading to a Mayday call and the US Coast Guard attending.

A rescue helicopter was dispatched from San Francisco to evacuate the crew, who had reached 77 nautical miles due west of Morro Bay.