A British national has been rescued by Dutch fishermen who found him clinging to a buoy in the English channel several days after his kayak overturned.
The man has reportedly said he had left Dover in a kayak to ‘get across’ on October 15 and was found by the Dutch crew on Thursday, exhausted and suffering from hypothermia.
Urk fisherman Teunis de Boer, skipper on the fishing vessel Madeleine, told broadcaster NOS the man must have spent ‘a couple of days at least’ on the buoy.
URKER VISSERS REDDEN BRITSE KAJAKKER | De bemanning van de kotter BL936072 ‘Madelaine’ van rederij De Boer & Zonen, heeft rond 11 uur in het Kanaal een Engelse kajakker gered van een lichtboei. Hij werd bij toeval ontdekt toen de kotter in de buurt van de Cobalt-bank ging vissen. pic.twitter.com/8Oq1AZ1u2P
— EMK-vissers (@EMKvissers) October 27, 2022
De Boer had been working on his electronic log book when he spotted movement on a buoy marking a sandbank. ‘I got my binoculars out and saw a guy in swimming trunks move on the buoy which was swaying back and forth like anything.’
The fisherman, who was astounded at what he saw, immediately sent out a sound signal to let the man know he’s been spotted. ‘The current made it difficult to get close to him so we threw him some life buoys when we got to about ten metres of him. He managed to grab one.’
After being hauled to safety the man said he has wanted to get ‘across [the channel]’ but that his kayak had overturned.
‘He was covered in bruises and had kept himself alive by eating crabs and seaweed and mussels he scraped off the buoy. We dried him off and warmed him up. He drank a couple of litres of water straight off. He hadn’t slept in days,’ De Boer said.
After warning French rescue services, the man was taken off the ship by helicopter and flown to a hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer where he is said to be in a serious condition.
‘It’s a miracle we spotted him and we are grateful that we did,’ De Boer said. ‘He couldn’t have lasted much longer if we hadn’t’.
The French authorities confirmed the man had probably spent 48 hours on the buoy based on what he was able to tell them. Although the Dover Straits is one of the busiest shipping lanes, the man was lucky to be found at all, they said.
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