Heroic Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin arrives home to rapturous welcome after Indian Ocean rescue
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Heroic Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin arrives home to rapturous welcome after Indian Ocean rescue

AN Irish sailor who heroically assisted in the rescue of a stranded Indian man during the Golden Globe Race has arrived home.

32-year-old Gregor McGuckin was competing in the famous boat race when on 21 September, a ruthless storm struck the Indian Ocean and the Goatstown man's vessel was badly damaged.

In a worse situation was fellow competitor Abhilash Tomy, suffered a “severe back injury” which left him incapacitated on his bunk inside his boat.

Despite the damage to his own vessel, McGuckin attempted to sail in the direction of Tomy in a heroic bid to rescue him.

However, before McGuckin arrived, a French fisheries patrol vessel rescued the Indian sailor before rescuing McGuckin.

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They were both taken to the remote Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean for medical treatment.

McGuckin was later transferred to Perth in Australia by the Australian naval ship HMAS Ballarat.

Family and friends of the Irishman gathered at Dublin Airport today to greet the sailor after his ordeal.

After embracing his father Randall and brother Ruaidhri, Gregor recalled his experience: “When this storm hit, we were not just in the worst place at the wrong time, we were in the worst possible place to be at the wrong time as well.

“We were in the most remote part of the Indian Ocean, I knew the chances of anybody being close by were slim to none.

“I stuck my head out and I just saw this huge wave just starting to break.

“It was two waves colliding and it just created this huge mountain, basically, and I managed to get in and slam the hatch shut in time," he added.

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Mr McGuckin, who was attempting to be the first Irishman to sail around the world solo non-stop, subsequently spent a number of weeks in Australia recovering.

Eighteen sailors are still competing in the gruelling race.