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

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[June 16, 2014]  By Jonathan Allen
 NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man trying to row across the Atlantic from New York to a Scottish island was rescued during a storm early on Saturday by a U.S. Coast Guard team who 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 deployed to reach Macdonald was forced to turn back by a lightning storm, but a Coast Guard rescue boat carrying paramedics was able to navigate turbulent waters to reach Macdonald in his 24-foot (seven-metre) rowboat shortly after midnight on Saturday.

"He was being thrown around like a rag doll," Lieutenant James Provost, the captain of the Coast Guard rescue boat, said on Saturday. Macdonald was found bloodied with a cut on his head, Provost said, adding: "He was in a lot of pain."

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.

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

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Stephen Powell)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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