Australian navy rescues two French yachtsmen

SYDNEY - Two French yachtsmen were rescued by Australia's navy after their vessel sank south of Sydney, officials said Monday, with the pair suffering mild hypothermia.

The Australian Defence Force said the men were plucked from the ocean by a navy helicopter 360 miles (580 kilometres) east of Jervis Bay on Sunday night after being forced to abandon their sinking yacht in rough seas.

They were flown to the frigate HMAS Perth and were in a satisfactory condition.

Lee Goddard, captain of the Perth, said the ship - which is normally stationed on Australia's west coast - had been in the area for military exercises ahead of the International Fleet Review in Sydney this weekend to be attended by Britain's Prince Harry.

"The recovery of these two sailors has gone very smoothly. The Rescue Coordination Centre did a great job managing a number of assets including ourselves, fixed wing aircraft and the merchant vessel Williams Strait," said Goddard.

"The final piece of the rescue saw the Seahawk helicopter use its night vision capability to ensure a successful outcome."

Some 40 warships, 16 tall ships, 60 aircraft and 8,000 sailors from more than a dozen countries including China, Britain, the United States, France and India will descend on Sydney for the Fleet Review.