A British kayaker survived being stranded on a buoy in the English Channel by eating seaweed and crabs.
The man, 28, whose name was not released, was spotted Thursday morning clinging to a buoy in the shipping lane of the Dover Strait, several miles off the west coast of France, BBC reported.
“He was clearly in distress,” Teunis de Boer, captain of the fishing vessel De Madelaine told the Dutch media of spotting the man. “I picked up the binoculars and saw a young man just in his swimming trunks waving at us like a madman.”
The crew threw the man a lifebuoy and pulled him on board. Images were published by SkyNews of the man dehydrated and bruised, shivering with a potentially lethal body temperature of 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
He struggled to speak, but he expressed his gratitude to the crew by making a thumbs-up and heart gestures.
“He…explained that he’d stayed alive by scraping mussels off the buoy and eating little crabs and seaweed,” De Boer told the broadcaster NOS.
The De Madelaine’s crew wrapped the man in blankets and gave him a Snickers bar before the French coast guard arrived by helicopter. The rescued kayaker was then airlifted to a hospital in Boulogne.
It is still unclear how long the man was stranded in the channel. While De Boer said the man claimed to have left Dover on Oct. 15 – 12 days before the rescue – a statement from the French coastguard confirmed that he had only been at sea for about two days.
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, making crossings in small boats especially dangerous. Last year, over 30 migrants drowned in the treacherous waters when their boat sank en route to Britain.
“It’s a day of great mourning for France, for Europe, for humanity to see these people die at sea,” France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said at the time.
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