Dutch fishers rescue man clutching a buoy after days in the English Channel
On Thursday morning, Dutch fishermen rescued a man clinging to a buoy in the Pas de Calais. The English man had been in the water for several days after his kayak had capsized. “He said he left Dover on October 15. He was exhausted and severely hypothermic,” Captain Teunis de Boer from Urk told NOS.
“It was about eleven o’clock. We were sailing through the English Channel and passed a buoy that marked a dry bank. We were getting closer, I was filing in my electronic logbook, when I suddenly saw something move on that buoy. I grabbed my binoculars and saw someone in a bathing suit on the buoy, waving like crazy,” De Boer said.
He couldn’t believe his eyes. “I gave a sound signal to show that I had seen him. There was quite a strong current, so we sailed toward him with our heads in the current. When we were about ten meters from the buoy, we threw life buoys into the water. He caught it.”
They hoisted the exhausted man aboard. He couldn’t say how long he had been in the water. “He said he wanted to go to the other side and had capsized. He was covered in bruises and said he had kept himself alive by scraping mussels from the buoy and eating crabs and seaweed,” De Boer said. “We dried him off and let him warm up in the galley. He drank a few liters of water in no time. He hadn’t slept for days. His eyes were deep in his sockets.”
The Madeleine, with three Dutch and two French fishers on board, called the French coastguard, who sent a helicopter with a doctor to the boat. They transported the man to a hospital.
According to the French authorities, the man is in ICU in a hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer. He is conscious and able to talk to the care providers, but he is in bad shape. Based on what he said, the authorities think he clutched to the buoy for at least 48 hours.