A 62-year-old French man survived 16 hours at sea in an air bubble that formed after his boat capsized.
The 12-meter vessel, which left the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, sent a distress signal from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday night.
The Spanish coastguard found the boat upside down, but the tide was too rough for a rescue attempt, meaning the man had to wait until dawn.
The Coast Guard said it was “almost impossible” for him to survive.
The boat made the distress call at 8:23 p.m. local time on Monday, 26 nautical kilometers off the Chisarcas Islands off the coast of Galicia.
A rescue boat with 5 divers and 3 helicopters was dispatched to rescue the still unidentified person.
One of the divers hung onto the boat from a cable to look for signs of life, and the man responded by attacking from inside the boat.
As the tide was high and the sun had set, the rescue team attached flotation balloons to the ship to keep it from sinking and waited until morning.
The next day, two divers dove under the boat to help the boatman, who was wearing a survival wetsuit. He was up to his knees in water.
The man jumped into the icy water and swam under the boat to the surface.
Vicente Gobelo, a member of the Coast Guard’s special operations team, said the man jumped into the water “on his own initiative.”
The rescue team sent him to the hospital by helicopter.
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