Three sailors have been rescued from a floating catamaran left badly damaged by shark attacks more than 500 miles (804km) off the Australian coast.
Rescuers arrived at the scene in the Coral Sea after being alerted to an emergency beacon at 1.30am on Wednesday – and found major damage to the 9m (29ft) boat.
The three men – two Russians and one Frenchman aged between 28 and 64 – are “healthy and well”, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) duty manager Joe Zeller.
He said a journey covering the roughly 1,240-mile (2,000km) distance between Vanuatu and the eastern coast of Australia would normally take two to three weeks on this kind of vessel.
Photos taken from above showed significant damage to the catamaran – which has two parallel hulls linked by a platform – after several shark attacks.
The motivation for the sharks to attack is “unclear”, but Mr Zeller said he was more certain for the reason behind the swift rescue.
The men had the GPS-encoded emergency beacon to thank, with rescuers able to quickly pinpoint their location.
The AMSA secured the help of a vehicle-carrying, Panamanian-flagged ship called Dugong Ace, which took the sailors on board. They are expected in Brisbane, in eastern Australia, on Thursday.
A rescue plane was also dispatched to the scene.