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Skipper with broken leg returns home

Latest update : 2009-01-01

Yann Elies, the French skipper forced to abandon the Vendee Globe after he suffered a broken leg, was finally able to leave an Australian hospital to go back to France.

AFP - Rescued French skipper Yann Elies left an Australian hospital Tuesday and is believed to have begun the journey home which will put his Southern Ocean ordeal behind him, a spokeswoman said.

Elies, 34, was forced to abandon the Vendee Globe around-the-world solo race earlier this month after he suffered a badly broken leg when a huge wave smashed his yacht some 800 nautical miles from land.

The Frenchman lay in agony for two days unable to move or reach his medical kit or supplies as his boat floated in the swell until he was rescued by an Australian navy vessel.

Elies underwent surgery at the Royal Perth Hospital soon after reaching Australia just over a week ago and a hospital spokeswoman Tuesday confirmed he had been released and would return to France.

"He was discharged this afternoon," Connie Clarke told AFP.

"He's obviously well enough to go home so yes, he's stable and on his way. I think he's flying home this evening."

Elies, in eighth place when he was injured, has described his high-seas ordeal as "the worst five days of my life".

The yachtsman, who lay on his bunk in the cabin of his 60-foot (18-metre) yacht Generali awaiting rescue, had been joined by his family in Perth and they are believed to be accompanying him on his return journey to France.

Date created : 2008-12-30

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