Detained British yachtsmen return to UK from Iran

Fri Dec 4, 2009 3:57am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Four Britons released following a week in Iranian custody after their yacht strayed into Iran's waters returned to Britain on Friday.

A spokeswoman for their sailing team said they flew into London's Heathrow airport from Dubai at around 7 a.m. (0700 GMT/2 a.m. EST).

The men, Luke Porter, Oliver Smith, Sam Usher and Oliver Young were freed on Wednesday along with David Bloomer, a British journalist based in Bahrain, who had been sailing with them on the way to a race in Dubai.

Their release averted a diplomatic row with Britain on top of Iran's disputes with the West over its nuclear program.

Britain had stressed the men were civilians and Iran said it had concluded they had entered its waters by mistake.

Their skipper, Oliver Smith, told reporters in Dubai they had been treated well during their detention after drifting into Iranian waters on November 25 following a problem with their engine's propeller.

(Reporting by Tim Castle)