Sixteen hours inside capsized yacht

A 62-year-old Frenchman survived for 16 hours in an air bubble inside his capsized sailing boat in the Atlantic Ocean before being rescued by Spanish coastguard divers in what they described as an operation “verging on the impossible”.

The 40-foot yacht Jeanne Solo Sailor sent out a distress signal at 8.23pm on August 1, located 14 miles from the Sisargas Islands off Spain’s north-western Galicia region, the coastguard said. Tracking data shows it had set sail from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, early on July 31.

As a rescue ship carrying five divers set sail, one of three helicopters sent to aid the search located the upturned vessel as the sun went down. A diver was winched on to the ship’s hull to seek signs of life, and the man inside, who has not been named, responded to his banging on the hull by knocking from inside.

With the sea too rough to attempt a rescue, the coastguard attached buoyancy balloons to the ship’s hull to prevent it from sinking further and waited until the morning.

Two divers swam under the boat to help free the sailor, who they found wearing a neoprene survival suit and submerged in water up to his knees…

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