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Kayaker Rescued After 2-Day Ordeal Clinging To Buoy Survived By Eating Seaweed And Mussels

Kayaker Rescued After 2-Day Ordeal Clinging To Buoy Survived By Eating Seaweed And Mussels
Posted at 9:10 AM, Oct 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-31 12:11:52-04

A British kayaker got plucked out of the English Channel after what he thought would be a nice day on the water turned into a struggle for survival.

Around 11 a.m. local time, the Dutch fishing boat Madeleine was traveling through Pas de Calais, a water shipping lane of the Dover Strait bordering the English Channel. In an effort to navigate the rough waters, Captain Teunis de Boer wanted to get a closer look at potential hazards ahead. That’s when he saw something he couldn’t believe.

“I picked up the binoculars and saw a young man just in his swimming trunks waiving at us like a madman,” de Boer told the Dutch news website De Telegraf, according to the BBC.

Apparently, 28-year-old Daniel Lewis, who reportedly has little to no experience paddling, decided to take an inflatable kayak into the water and paddled east toward France. He capsized in the Pas de Calais and took refuge on the buoy.

Photos and video from both the boat and rescue officials show the dramatic scene unfolding on the open water.

According to a press statement from the Maritime Prefecture of The Channel and the North Sea, the man reportedly left the British coast approximately 48 hours before he was found by the Madeleine crew, who picked up the shipwreck victim and called for the French Coast Guard to get him medical attention.

In a Facebook post from the boat’s crew, the man experienced significant hypothermia with a body temperature was 26 degrees Celsius (about 79 degrees Fahrenheit). He had a hard time standing and speaking due to his condition when he first got on board the boat. The crew gave reportedly gave him a chocolate bar and some water.

When he was able to communicate, Lewis told the crew he survived by eating seaweed, mussels and crabs off the buoy, the captain told Dutch public broadcaster NOS, via the BBC.

A short time after they got the call, the French Coast Guard was able to airlift the 28-year-old man to the hospital of Boulogne in France. By the time they arrived, the victim seemed to be doing better and even gave a thumbs-up to his rescuers as he rode toward the helicopter.

This area bordering the English Channel has nearly 400 merchant ships passing through it every day and often has severe wind conditions, making it a particularly dangerous place for recreational boaters and kayakers.

The Daily Mail UK reported Lewis is expected to recover, and that the French Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

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