On 5 January 1997, in the Southern Ocean near , Bullimore's boat, Exide Challenger capsized and the majority of press and media reports assumed that the 57-year-old sailor was lost. The Royal Australian Navy launched a rescue mission for Bullimore and another capsized competitor, Thierry Dubois.
Bullimore was alive and managed to survive in an air pocket in the upside-down boat in pitch darkness, having lost his food supplies, aside from a bar of chocolate. On 9 January, fellow Vendée Globe competitor Thierry Dubois was rescued by an Australian S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter embarked on the frigate HMAS Adelaide.
Adelaide then proceeded further south to where the Exide Challenger had been located by a RAAF P-3 Orion. Adelaide dispatched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to the Exide Challenger where crew members knocked on the hull. Hearing the noise, Bullimore swam out from his boat and was quickly rescued by personnel from Adelaide. HMAS Adelaide then returned both Dubois and Bullimore to Perth. During the return journey, Bullimore met with each member of the boat's crew to thank them for saving his life.
- Luke Harding and Christopher Zinn, "Alive - after four days in a watery tomb", The Guardian, 10 January 1997. Accessed 9 July 2014.
- Vetter, Craig, "Godforsaken", Outside, January 1998. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Sail World - Powerboat-world: Sail and sailing, cruising, boating news".
- BBC ON THIS DAY | 9 |1997: Bullimore rescued after five days, accessed 16 July 2006.
- Sailing World, Vendée Globe, accessed 16 July 2006.
- "Bullimore's sister buoyed by rabbis' support", Jewish Chronicle, 24 January 1997, p. 1.
- Tony Bullimore, "Ready for take off", BYM News & Magazine
- Rob Sharp, "'Missing' yachtsman finally phones his wife", The Observer, 19 November 2006.
- Photo Gallery of Tony Bullimore & his catamaran "Doha 2006"
- Tony Bullimore, Saved, Time Warner Paperbacks, 1998, ISBN 0751523348
- Rescue in the Southern Ocean, by Tony Bullimore, Penguin Group Australia, 1997, ISBN 0140268375
- Tony Bullimore, Yachting Yarns, Little, Brown Book Group Limited, 2000, ISBN 0316850446.
- "Rescue of Tony Bullimore". YouTube.