Coast Guard rescues man trying to row from New York to Scotland

Posted June 14, 2014, at 12:18 p.m.

NEW YORK — A man trying to row across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to a Scottish island was rescued during a storm early Saturday by a U.S. Coast Guard team that plucked him from choppy waters off Long Island, an official with the agency said.

Niall Iain Macdonald, 39, of Scotland was about 50 nautical miles from the coast when he sent out a distress call by satellite phone saying he had been injured, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Coast Guard officials said the pilot of one of their helicopters sent to reach Macdonald was forced to turn back because of a lightning storm, but a Coast Guard rescue boat carrying paramedics was able to navigate turbulent waters to reach Macdonald in his 24-foot rowboat shortly after midnight Saturday.

“He was being thrown around like a rag doll,” Lt. James Provost, the captain of the Coast Guard rescue boat, said Saturday. Macdonald was found bloodied with a cut on his head, Provost said.

“He was in a lot of pain,” he added.

Macdonald was planning to spend three months rowing home to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health, according to his website.

The Coast Guard took Macdonald to a hospital in New Jersey.

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