THREE tourists were left stranded 500 miles from shore after their yacht was savaged by sharks.
The sailors, two Russian and one French, were sailing towards Cairns, Australia, when a swarm of beasts repeatedly bit their inflatable catamaran.
They raised the alarm in the early hours of the morning as their vessel started to sink and a ship was sent to rescue them.
Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin and Vincent Thomas Etienne – aged between 28 and 63 – were heading from Vanuatu to Cairns on a 29ft boat named Tion when they were forced to call for help.
Australia's Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received a distress call at about 1.30am local time on Wednesday (4.30pm BST on Tuesday).
A number of sharks had sunk their razor-sharp teeth into the yacht's inflatable hulls.
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AMSA duty manager Joe Zeller said a "large section" of the vessel's hull was missing when crews found them.
A picture shared by the authority shows the back of the boat submerged in the water.
Mr Zeller added: "There are many reasons that vessels are attacked by sharks.
"However, the motivations of these sharks are unclear."
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A cargo was sent to rescue the trio and is expected to reach shore on Thursday morning.
The three men set off on their trip on August 28, reports news.com.au.
According to Mr Zeller, the crossing of 2,200 usually takes around two or three weeks.
Mr Zeller added: "The three males were very happy to be rescued and they are all healthy and well."
AMSA reminded sailors to always carry a distress beacon on daring voyages.
They said: "GPS-equipped EPIRBs and personal locater beacons (PLBs) can save your life in an emergency.
“Make sure your distress beacon is properly registered with AMSA.”
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