Great Britain

Dramatic moment British barrister is pulled from the Atlantic after 34ft yacht capsized

This is the dramatic moment a leading British barrister is airlifted to safety from the Atlantic after his yacht was capsized by a freak wave 'the size of a football stadium'.

Richard Hendron was on a solo adventure in the 34ft Spirit of Daedalus when the seas around the Bay of Biscay took a dramatic turn for the worse.

Speaking to Mailonline, Mr Hendron, 38, from London said: 'I really thought my time was up and I am very fortunate to have escaped with just a few bruises.' 

Barrister Richard Hendron, 38, from London, is airlifted to safety after his yacht capsized in the Atlantic at the Bay of Biscay and was floating towards dangerous rocks when he was saved 

Mr Hendron (pictured) told MailOnline he thought his time was up when a wave 'the size of a football stadium' came crashing down onto his boat and capsized it

The barrister handed over this photo of rescue teams in a lifeboat pulling up to his 34ft yacht called Spirit of Daedalus as it drifted towards giant rocks off the north west coast of Spain

Mr Hendron set off from the Spanish port of A'Coruna on Sunday morning (pictured above)

He had left the Spanish port of A'coruna at dawn and travelled for 20 miles when the seas suddenly changed.

He said: 'I don't usually clip myself in the cockpit but for some reason I did when I left the port. The weather was good, but it just changed and suddenly I could see these huge waves.

The barrister said it was like being inside a washing machine when the boat overturned when sea conditions deteriorated

'They looked as big as a football stadium, and then one of them just crashed down on the yacht causing it to capsize.

'I have never seen such a huge wall of water. It was terrifying. I really thought I was going to drown

'For 30 seconds it felt like being in a washing machine. Finally it rolled back up with me still clipped in.'

In a vivid Facebook post written just after his rescue, Mr Hendron described the situation he faced: 'The boat is now a scene of utter carnage, sails ripped, solar panels torn off, Kayak snapped in two halves, water tanks from the saloon have been ripped out and the boat is four feet deep of water inside.' 

Worse still, he appeared to be heading for a large collection of rocks with no engine, no sail, and no communication.

After attempting a mayday call he wrote: 'I have no idea if emergency signal went though. I can't just sit back and be rescued as I do not know if anyone is coming – besides I don't have long before the yacht could be ploughing into the rocks.

Mr Hendron is winched up to a helicopter from his stricken ship by a rescue team who answered his mayday call when he was drifting towards rocks and his boats engine failed

When he set off from the Spanish port of A'coruna in the Spirit of Daedalus (above), Mr Hendron clipped himself into the cockpit, something he rarely does, which saved his life  

As his boat drifted towards the rocks, the barrister said he grabbed his money, passport and a knife - then jumped into a life raft, cut the line and paddled furiously away from the rocks

'If the yacht hits the rocks it will be too late for me to jump in life raft it will be no good to me, the yacht, life raft and I would be smashed into rocks. Do I risk it and abandon ship in hope that I might be able to have some control over steering of life raft or do I stay put those were my options – Do or die!'

He reluctantly concluded he had to abandon shop so he grabbed his passport, money and a knife, jumped into the raft and cut the line.

Mr Hendron once represented his brother Henry (above), a celeb barrister arrested in 2015 for supplying 'chemsex' drugs to his teen boyfriend, who died from an overdose

'I paddled frantically, draw stroking,' he wrote. 'The waves kept on coming. At one point I was flattened by a breaking wave on top, it was like being vac packed - but it soon pops up again and I kept on paddling. 

'I miss the first set of rocks then the second set of rocks and third set of rocks and so on until eventually an hour and a half later I am clear of all the rocks and now in the middle of some big bay.'

Unbeknown to Mr Hendron, the emergency call he had made had gone through to the coastguard but was delayed by over an hour due to the rocks blocking the signal.

He was eventually spotted by a helicopter and a rescue diver jumped down from a Sea King helicopter to winch him to safety.

'Unfortunately I wasn't insured but I am just happy to be alive,' he told MailOnline. 

'We flew back to the coastguard station and they were just great. They said most people they usually rescue have to go to hospital, but I only had a few bruises so we all had lunch. I owe them a debt of gratitude.'

Mr Hendron made headlines when he defended his brother Henry, a celebrity barrister, who was arrested in 2015 for supplying 'chemsex' drugs to his teenage boyfriend who died from an overdose.

Mr Hendron (pictured) is now back in the UK after Sunday's drama and is facing a hefty repair bill to his boat says he is incredibly fortunate to have escaped with just cuts and brusies

Henry, who has represented Tory MP Nadine Dorries and the Earl of Cardigan, admitted supplying drugs to his 18-year-old lover, although there was no evidence that the narcotics supplied by Hendron caused his death.

A judge at London's Old Bailey spared him jail and sentenced him to an unpaid work order instead.

The brothers later fell out when Richard evicted Henry from his London flat after he refused to move out following the court case. 

A former police inspector, Richard was on a break from legal work having taken up sailing just over a year ago.

His life raft was later located and recovered to stop other boats from reporting it to the Coast Guard.

His battered yacht was towed to port and awaits repairs while he has flown home.

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