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62-year-old French man survives 16 hours in Atlantic after boat turns over

Rough seas prevent quick rescue

By A.L. Lee

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A 62-year-old boater from France was marooned for 16 hours in the Atlantic Ocean after his boat overturned earlier this week, according to Spanish coast guard officials who rescued him off the country's northwest coast.

The sailor survived the ordeal by clinging to the overturned vessel, where a small compartment of air allowed him to breathe, officials noted.

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The coast guard sent a rescue team to Spain's northwestern Galicia region, about 15 miles from the Sisargas Islands, where the man's 40-foot Jeanne Solo Sailor sent a distress signal to authorities late Monday.

The man had set sail Sunday from Portugal, but by Monday night he'd found himself in trouble several miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. Several helicopters and divers were dispatched to the scene.

The rescuers eventually spotted the overturned boat and determined that the man was still alive beneath it, in the water. He was said to be wearing a neoprene survival suit.

The boater remained in the water for hours as rough seas forced crews to wait until daylight Tuesday to attempt a rescue. Flotation devices were attached to the boat's hull in the meantime to keep it from sinking.

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The sailor was rescued and airlifted to safety early Tuesday afternoon. His condition wasn't immediately reported.

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