A 62-year-old French man survived 16 hours at sea after his boat capsized using an air bubble inside it.
The 12-metre ship, which set sail from Portugal’s capital Lisbon, sent a distress signal from the Atlantic Ocean late Monday. The Spanish coast guard found the capsized boat, but the sea was too rough to save her – so the sailor had to wait until morning.
Coast Guard divers said the man’s survival was “leading to the impossible”. His boat sent a distress signal at 20:23 local time on Monday, 14 miles (22.5 km) from the Cisargas Islands, near Spain’s northwest Galicia region.
A rescue ship carrying five divers and three helicopters rushed to find and rescue the man, who was yet to be named.
A diver climbed onto the ship’s hull to look for signs of life, and the man responded by beating from the inside. The sea was rough, and the sun had set, so rescuers put up bouncy balloons to prevent the boat from sinking and waited until dawn.
Vicente Cobelo, a coastguard’s special operations team member, said the sailor got into the water “of his initiative”.
But, Mr Cobelo added, divers helped pull the sailor out, as it was difficult for him to get out of his suit. He was airlifted by the rescue team and briefly taken to the hospital for checks.