Sailor survives 16 hours in Atlantic Ocean under capsized sailboat

Spanish rescuers saved a Frenchman who had stayed alive for 16 hours in the Atlantic Ocean after his sailboat capsized.

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The 62-year-old man, who was not identified, had set sail from Lisbon before sending out a distress signal late Monday night, BBC reported.

Three helicopters searched for the boater, and after he was spotted, a rescue team of five divers was sent to help, CNN reported. The man was not visible and communicated with rescuers by knocking on the inside of the boat.

A dramatic video shared by the Spanish Coast Guard on Twitter appears to show a rescuer on top of the boat, communicating with the man by hitting the boat. The accompanying text, translated into English, reads “Each life saved is our greatest reward.”

Coast guard officials described the man’s survival as “verging on the impossible,” because the sea was too rough for the rescuers to pull him out that night, forcing him to spend the night under the boat, BBC reported.

In the morning, two divers swam under the boat to help the man, who was described as wearing a neoprene survival suit and in water up to his knees, BBC reported.

Rescuers said the man then jumped into the water and swam under the boat with the help of the divers, BBC reported.

After the man was airlifted out, he was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but was later released, CNN reported.