Poland thanks Saudi Arabia for rescue

March 8, 2012 at 8:14 PM
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WARSAW, Poland, March 8 (UPI) -- Poland's foreign minister thanked Saudi Arabian officials for aiding in the rescue of a Polish kite-surfer who went missing in the Red Sea.

Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski met with His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Sunday to give thanks for helping rescue the kite-surfer who disappeared Friday, thenews.pl reported Monday.

"Minister Sikorski thanked the Saudi authorities and expressed special gratitude to the marine search-and-rescue services for saving the life of Jan Lisewski, the Polish kite-surfer who became stranded on the Red Sea on March 2," Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki said in a statement.

"The minister underscored that the final success of the mission -- conducted in demanding circumstances -- came down to the fact that the Saudi side dispatched an unprecedented number of personnel and equipment towards the search-and-rescue efforts," the statement said.

Lisewski, 42, planned on kite-surfing from Egypt to Saudi Arabia Friday, but the speed of the wind dropped, forcing the kite into the Red Sea. After the wind failed to pick back up, Lisewski sent out a distress signal.

"I was pushed by the wind to the worst place, on the reef, where sharks were feeding. They tried to attack me through the kite, which probably had colors that attracted them. I stabbed at them with the knife in their eyes, nose, gills. The fight, which miraculously I came out victorious from, took all night. In the morning they were gone," Lisewski said, estimating he was attacked by sharks 11 times as he waited to be rescued.

The man spent 40 hours in the sea before being picked up by a Saudi ship and taken to a hospital in Duba.

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