Lukas Haitzmann – The Wild Oarsman – rowed 3,000 miles (4,800km) from the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Arriving in Antigua on Saturday, the 18-year-old, from Windsor, Berkshire, beat two world records by becoming the youngest person to row across any ocean solo, and the first Austrian – his father is from Austria – to row solo across the Atlantic.
He was also the fastest solo rower from the 2018 challenge, completing it in 59 days, eight hours and 22 minutes.
While most young people leaving school last summer were thinking about the universities they would be going to, the jobs they could get or where they would travel, Lukas decided he needed a serious challenge.
Having grown up rowing and sailing, he decided to put university off for a year to row across the Atlantic.
His dyslexia was put to the test trying to fundraise enough money to buy a specially-built ocean rowing boat and everything he would need, from food to suncream.
He told Sky News: “To be honest, the fundraising bit was harder for me than the training – I already had the fitness from rowing for the past five years.
“I really like to challenge myself and think it’s important to. My mum wasn’t so impressed when I first told her but I managed to persuade her eventually.
“I didn’t realise I was going to be the youngest person to ever cross an ocean solo until I started doing a bit of digging, because others who have done it have broken some records.
“It wasn’t why I did it, but that did help push me along during the row.”
Many people who do the Atlantic Challenge hallucinate and struggle with the loneliness, but Lukas said he felt it was quite peaceful.
He would sleep for about five hours in the middle of the night as his boat drifted, then a couple of hours around lunchtime to get his energy back up in the heat of the day.
“I didn’t really talk to myself, it was more talking my thoughts out loud. My music ran out after a month so that was a bit hard for the second half.
“I think the most difficult part was my water changer broke after 10 days so I had to use a manual pump to change sea water into drinking water which was very tiring, but I finally managed to fix it.”
During his nearly two months at sea Lukas said he saw dolphins, which he swam with, a whale swam under his boat, and he saw a turtle and fish.
“I had a storm petrel, a type of bird, following me for a while which was really great, he kept me company, although he wasn’t great at conversation!
“I thought I’d see a lot more though, it wasn’t like there was wildlife every single day, which was quite sad.
“I did see a lot of pollution, some which had been there for a long time, which was awful.
“Being out on the ocean for that long made me really respect it. There’s no messing around, and you really have to have your wits about you.”
The teenager is hoping his feat will help inspire other youngsters to push themselves at whatever they want.
“I’m just a normal kid really, I’m not Superman, I just really enjoy a challenge and this was a way of really pushing myself,” he added.
“I hope it shows people that no matter what age you are, you really can do more than you think. If you don’t succeed, it doesn’t matter, just keep trying and try something else to challenge you if that doesn’t work.”
Not one to remain on terra firma for long, Lukas is going to use his time in Antigua to go sailing with his family before going back to the UK where he wants to go to university.
“After uni, we’ll see, I want to get an education, and actually being at sea really made me appreciate learning more because I couldn’t Google what fish that was, or why the clouds were forming like they were.
“I did miss not being able to pick up my phone all the time, but actually I really relished it because it made you appreciate the ocean.”
North Korea: Kim’s ‘great satisfaction’ over sixth missile test in three weeks | World News
The North Korean leader was seen in a newly released photo smiling as several apparently senior military officers stand around him laughing, clapping and pointing at a screen.
On the same day, another photo was released showing the apparent test firing of a new missile – in the sixth round of launches since late July.
Analysts say the launches are attempts to pressure Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear negotiations and their joint military exercises.
Kim was reported by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to have said his military’s “mysterious and amazing success rates” in recent testing activity would lead to “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke”.
The agency added: “(Kim) said everyone should remember that it is the (ruling) party’s core plan and unwavering determination to build a powerful force strong enough to discourage any forces from daring to provoke us and to leave any opponent defenceless against our Juche weapons of absolute power even in situations of physical clashes.”
KCNA did not describe the weapons involved in Friday’s launch but said the tests were successful.
South Korea said two projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast flew about 140 miles (230km) before landing in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
The US envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is due to visit Japan and South Korea early next week for talks.
Mr Biegun will be in Japan from Monday to Tuesday and in Seoul from Tuesday to Thursday, the State Department said.
The US wants to press ahead with “verified denuclearisation” of North Korea but Pyongyang has ignored South Korean calls for dialogue recently.
Mr Trump and Mr Kim have met three times to discuss ways of resolving worldwide concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, but little progress has been made.
On Friday, a North Korean government spokesperson criticised South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the US.
The South and the US confirmed they are holding exercises but have said they are computer simulated, rather than involving actual troops or planes.
The North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.
The test firing occurred on the 74th anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, at the end of the Second World War.
23 hurt as Russian passenger jet hits flock of birds and makes emergency landing | World News
The Ural Airlines A321, carrying 226 passengers and a crew of seven, hit the gulls as it took off from the capital’s Zhukovsky international airport en route for Simferopol in Crimea.
The birds got into both of the plane’s engines and caused a malfunction, the airline said.
The pilot then made an emergency landing in a cornfield about half a mile from the airport.
Elena Mikheyeva, a spokeswoman for Russia’s civil aviation authority, said the engines were turned off when it made the emergency landing and also had its landing gear up.
State media has called the landing the “miracle over Ramensk” – in reference to the district where the plane came down.
There have also been comparisons with US Airways Flight 1549 which landed on the Hudson River in 2009 after striking a flock of geese.
Twenty-three people, including five children, were taken to hospital after the Moscow incident, Russian health authorities said.
Those injured were “considered to be in serious or fair condition”, it said.
Ural Airlines praised the crew for their professionalism over the evacuation.
The company said the captain is a highly experienced pilot who had flown for over 3,000 hours.
It added the plane was significantly damaged and would not fly again.
An official investigation is under way.
Footage from the scene showed the flight commander directing passengers to walk away from the jet across the cornfield.
Collisions between birds and planes are common in aviation, and while a single bird is rarely dangerous, multiple bird strikes, or hitting large birds such as Canada Geese, can and has caused serious accidents.
China ‘will not sit on its hands’ over Hong Kong protests – Beijing’s UK ambassador | World News
It came as new pictures emerged showing the build up of armed forces in the city of Shenzhen, just across the border with Hong Long.
The ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, told a news conference in London that if the situation deteriorates in the region, which is Chinese territory but operates under a different system to the rest of China, it would act to “quell unrest”.
It came after months of anti-China protests which in the last few days have led to the airport, one of the busiest in the world, being closed.
Mr Xiaoming told reporters: “If the situation deteriorates into uncontrollable unrest, the central government will not sit by and watch, we have enough power to quell the unrest.
“We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of basic law to quell any unrest swiftly. Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already shows signs of terrorism.
“The central government of China will never allow a few violent offenders to drag Hong Kong down a dangerous road, down a dangerous abyss.”
Pictures released by agencies showed dozens of trucks and armoured personnel carriers and hundreds of troops massing outside the Shenzhen Bay stadium in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong in China’s southern Guangdong province.
The stadium is just across a bridge that is one of the main access roads between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Mr Liu also turned his attention to Britain, saying some politicians in the UK still regard Hong Kong as part of the British Empire.
He said: “Good relations between the UK and China have to be based on no UK interference by the UK in China’s internal affairs.”
Pro-Beijing Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam had warned earlier that the region was in a “state of… chaos” and could enter “the abyss”.
Sky News reported on Tuesday as protesters brought departures at the international airport to a halt, amid violent skuffles with two people they accused of supporting Beijing.
Mass protests have been taking place across the territory since June, originally against a bill which would have allowed people to be extradited to the mainland.
Some have involved hundreds of thousands of people and many have ended in clashes between the protesters and police.
Mr Liu added that they were extremists masquerading as democracy protesters who were dragging Hong Kong “down a dangerous road”.
“We hope this will end in an orderly way,” he said. “In the meantime we are fully prepared for the worst.”
Earlier, US president Donald Trump suggested trade talks with China could wait until tensions in Hong Kong have eased.
He tweeted: “Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
Praising Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him a “great leader”, he added: “I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?”
Mr Liu appeared to respond by saying: “Foreign forces must stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, stop conniving in violent offences – they should not misjudge the situation and go down the wrong path otherwise they will lift the stone only to drop it on their own feet.
“Evidence shows the situation would not have deteriorated so much had it not been for the interference and incitement of foreign forces.
“Hong Kong is part of China. No foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.”
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