Spanish Coast Guard rescued a French sailor who spent 16 hours in an overturned boat

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Divers of the Spanish Coast Guard rescued a 62-year-old French sailor who lived for 16 hours in the air bladder of his capsized ship drifting in the Atlantic Ocean, officials said on Tuesday.

The Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Society found that the French sailing ship Jeanne SOLO Sailor had capsized about 14 miles off the Sisargas Islands. Northwestern Galicia in Spain, the agency said.

The 40-foot vessel set sail from Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday morning and issued a distress call shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, Reuters reported, citing the Coast Guard.

Rescuers found the capsized vessel, officials said, and one diver was winched onto the hull to see if anyone was alive. The trapped man responded to the diver’s blows to the hull with a rebound.

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The divers described the rescue operation as “on the brink of impossibility,” the publication reported.

the waters were too rough to try and save until the morning, the agency said. Rescuers attached floating aids to the hull to prevent further sinking of the ship.

The French sailing boat Jeanne SOLO Sailor capsized about 14 miles off the Sisargas Islands off the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, officials said.

The French sailing boat Jeanne SOLO Sailor capsized about 14 miles off the Sisargas Islands off the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, officials said.
(Salvamento Maritimo/Handout via REUTERS)

When morning came, two divers went under the sailboat and found the man, who has not been identified, knee-deep in water.

The Coast Guard reported that the man was able to independently emerge from the ship with the help of divers and reach the surface of the ocean.

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He was treated in the hospital and later released.

“Every life saved is our greatest reward,” the Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Society said in a statement.