By Humphrey Carter
MEMBERS of the Guardia Civil were forced to brave the high seas and fierce winds in the early hours of yesterday morning to rescue a lone British sailor from his yacht, adrift in the bay of Fornells, Minorca. The Guardia Civil received an emergency call just after 1am reporting a yacht in difficulties, adrift in the bay with a lone sailor on board as winds of around 100 kilometres per hour battered the island. A search and rescue operation was mounted, but the Guardia Civil and Local Police did not locate the stricken yacht until 2.30 when the yacht was found trying to shelter in Cala Rotja. The 50-year-old Briton was still on board and unhurt, but the heavy sea and gale force winds seriously hampered attempts to reach the yacht. Eventually, two civil guards decided that the only way was to wade out to the yacht. The sailor was eventually rescued, but the civil guards' uniforms were apparently torn to shreds according to sources at the central government delegation. At 3pm yesterday afternoon, Mahon harbour remained closed and ferry services between Majorca and Minorca were heavily disrupted, along with passenger services between Palma and Barcelona, while the region's fishing fleet spent its second day in port. In Majorca it was the north east of the islands worst hit by the gale force winds again yesterday, however the weather alert is expected to be lifted this morning with the wind expected to drop considerably. Temperatures, which plummeted between 5 and 8ºC on Thursday, will also start returning to normal today. There was also little left of the April snow yesterday.
Over the past 20 years, snow has fallen on the Puig Major, above 800 metres, in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1998.
Yesterday water board engineers were inspecting Majorca's two main reservoirs, Cuber and Gorg Blau, which are again near to overflowing after the torrential rain over the past 48 hours. Both reservoirs are full and some water may have to be released if the level is too high, a stark contrast to the situation two years ago when the reservoirs were nearly bone dry.


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