Officials Pause Rescue Mission Overnight, Man Waits 16 Hours Under Capsized Boat In Atlantic Ocean


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A French sailor spent 16 hours inside an air bubble inside of his boat after it capsized Monday in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 62-year-old set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, in the 12-meter vessel Monday evening, according to the BBC. Within hours, a distress signal was received by Spanish coastguards roughly 14 nautical miles from the Sisargas Islands in the north-west of Spain’s Galicia region, the outlet reported.

Five divers on a rescue ship and three helicopters were sent to locate the sailor, who remains anonymous, according to the outlet. Upon arrival, a diver was winched onto the hull of the vessel to search for signs of life, the story continued. The sailor banged on the inside to alert the rescue team that he was still alive, the BBC noted.

A Spanish account “Salvamento Maritimo” shared footage on Twitter. “Each life saved is our greatest reward,” the account user noted. The mission was “on the edge of the impossible,” Spanish television reported.

The sun had set over the rough seas, so the rescue team attached buoyancy balloons to the vessel to stop it from sinking overnight, and resumed their rescue in the early morning, according to the BBC. Two divers found the sailor wearing a neoprene survival suit, submerged up to his knees inside an air bubble under the vessel, the outlet reported. (RELATED: WARNING GRAPHIC: Watch The Moment A Shark Bites Off A Man’s Finger)

With the help of divers, he swam through the freezing waters to the surface, a coast guard told the BBC. He was then airlifted to hospital for a check-up.