A 53-year-old former deep sea diver attempting to paddle from Australia to New Zealand in a home-built kayak has been rescued less than a day after setting out from northern New South Wales on the 60-day voyage.
Stuart Cleary was attempting to be the first person to successfully complete the trans-Tasman voyage solo, having spent four years preparing for the ordeal.
Several have tried previously and failed. In 2007, adventurer Andrew McAuley disappeared without trace within sight of New Zealand having set off on the 1600km journey from Tasmania.
Clearly set out from Ballina, just south of Byron Bay, last night and the ABC reports he told his wife he was aborting the attempt and returning to shore this morning after the kayak reportedly developed steering trouble.
This afternoon the kayak’s distress beacon was activated, sparking a helicopter search. NSW Water Police rescued Cleary 40km north of Coffs Harbour at around 4.15pm. He returned to Coffs Harbour.
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