A 62-year-old French man, rescued last Tuesday in a harrowing shipwreck off the Costa da Morte, was, it has emerged as reported in La Provincia, located thanks to a signal from his sailboat’s emergency beacon, which reached the COSPAS-SARSAT search program, located at the Maspalomas Space Centre . Operators in Maspalomas quickly notified the National Maritime Rescue Centre in Madrid, which deployed units to begin an intervention that lasted more than 16 hours, in which the survivor had managed to stay alive thanks to an air bubble that had formed under the upturned hull.

The racing yacht trapped its sole occupant, from which the first distress signal was issued through its radio beacon at 8:17 p.m. last Monday. From that moment on, the Mission Control Centre on the south of Gran Canaria, constantly reviewed the signal to try to contact the rescue centre about any changes that could occur in its location. In this case, she did not move, as the vessel was stuck in her place following the incident.

The issuance of the warning made the rescue possible, as at that time there was no trace in sight of the occupant, which limited any option of another navigator seeing what had happened and raising the alarm. In fact, a lack of visibility proved to be the greatest difficulty faced by the members of the rescue team, who eventually managed to locate the traveller by knocking on the walls of the hull so that the divers from the Fene Strategic Maritime Rescue Base could find their survivor.

The absence of signs of life made it necessary to deploy a multitude of teams to track the area by sea and air. As the hours passed, so did the likelihood of finding the man alive, but special protection devices that he had allowed him to stay afloat.

The Cospas-Sarsat centre also recieved another signal back in July from the Malpica area in northern Spain, where the incident took place, after a yacht ran aground. In that incident a 66-year-old woman died, while her companion of the same age was injured. The marine search program, which has been active for more than 20 years, uses a satellite system that allows it to detect all emergency signals emitted by ships and planes within a short period of time.