Seattle-based trans-Atlantic rowing squad in Puerto Rico

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 8 at 6:20 AM

Four men had their attempt to row across the Atlantic interrupted when their boat capsized arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday night. The Seattle-based expedition was a joint effort between OAR Northwest and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. 

Rower Jordan Hanssen described what happened Saturday morning when the boat flipped over.

"It wasn't a rogue wave," Hanssen said, "It was a fluke."

Hanssen said the four-man crew were changing duties when successive waves capsized the 29-foot rowboat. No one was injured and the men spent the next three hours trying in vain to right the ship.

They also followed planned procedure and tied their life raft to the row boat while transmitters in their life vests sent signals to authorities for help.

While Hanssen, fellow Seattle-based rower Patrick Fleming and Canadians Adam Kreek and Markus Pukonen rested for an hour, a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 spotted the quartet and coordinated a rescue with a passing cargo ship.

"We didn't give ourselves time to have a pity party," Hanssen said, "We were well-prepared for several days and beyond. As long as we were attached to our boat, we still had food.

"The way my crew acted after that wave hit just fills me with pride," Hanssen said, "To see the way the Coast Guard and those guys on the cargo ship acted, I'm just so humbled."

Hanssen and the other men were greeted by friends and family when they got to Puerto Rican soil. 

"We're all very proud of what we did," said Hanssen "Were excited of what we did.  We're not going to let one failure defeat us.

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