- A 28-year-old man ran into trouble crossing the English Channel from Dover to France.
- He was rescued by Dutch fishermen who noticed him struggling as their boat drove past.
- While waiting for rescue, he clung to a buoy, and he survived on a diet of seaweed, crabs, and muscles.
Fishermen rescued a 28-year-old British kayaker after he spent 48 hours clinging to a buoy in the English Channel in rough seas and survived eating seaweed, mussels, and crabs, say reports.
The captain of a Dutch fishing boat, Teunis de Boer, said, “I picked up the binoculars and saw a young man just in his swimming trunks waving at us like a madman,” he told De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper, per BBC News. “He was clearly in distress,” the captain told Dutch media.
In a statement, the French maritime prefect for the Channel and North Sea said that he had left Dover around two days before his rescue on Friday morning, told the BBC.
The crew pulled the man onto the boat and wrapped him in blankets after realizing he was dehydrated and suffering from hypothermia, a Facebook post said, per ITV News.
The stricken kayaker survived on a diet of seaweed, crabs, and mussels he found attached to the buoy he was clinging onto, De Boer told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, per BBC News.
“It’s a miracle he survived,” the captain told Dutch media.
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
A video posted on Twitter by @EMKvissers shows the man being airlifted to hospital by the French coastguard after the rescue. By this point, he’s fully clothed and able to wave down and make heart shapes at the crew back on board.
—EMK-vissers (@EMKvissers) October 27, 2022
De Boer said the exhausted kayaker could barely speak when he was pulled from the sea. “Talking cost him too much strength, so he made heart movements with his hand at us,” reported LBC.
“We are just happy that we can do something for our fellow human beings,” said the captain.
“People then think that you should quickly put someone under a warm shower, but that is completely incorrect. You have to warm someone up as naturally as possible,” De Boer told De Telegraaf.
The identity of the kayaker remains unverified at the time of writing.