Man Rescued After Spending 11 Days Adrift in a Freezer

A fisherman had a miraculous rescue after surviving 11 days adrift in a freezer which he clambered into when his boat began to sink in the Atlantic. 

Romualdo Macedo Rodrigues, 44, left Oiapoque, Amapa state, northern Brazil in late July in a wooden boat approximately seven metres (23 feet) long to go to Ilet la Mere.

According to Brazilian media, he planned to spend a few days fishing but his boat began to take on water during his trip and sank.

In a bid to survive, the 44-year-old climbed into a freezer which he had on board. Mr Rodrigues spent his time adrift without food or water and believes that he lost around five kilograms during the 11 days.

He said: ‘What troubled me most was the thirst. This fridge, for me, was God. A miracle.’

Footage taken on 11 August shows when he was rescued, exhausted and tumbling onto the floor of a Surinamese fishing vessel, 450 kilometres (280 miles) from where his boat sank. 

Dehydrated, disorientated and sporting torn clothes, the man also had sunstroke and pleaded with his rescuers for a drink- they gave him water and porridge.

Speaking about the terrifying experience to his local media, he said:  ‘I thought I was going to be attacked by sharks because there are lots of curious fish on the high seas.’

Describing his rescue, he said:  ‘I heard a noise and there was a boat above the freezer. 

‘Except they thought there was no one there. Then they slowly got closer, my vision was fading, and then I said, ‘My God, the boat’. I raised my arms and asked for help.’

Police officer Luis Carlos Porto said: ‘He was very thin, debilitated, but in very good spirits. The wounds he had on his body, which were related to the sun, were already much better. 

‘He says he had vision problems due to the excessive heat, salt, and light, but he was very calm and in good health.’

But Romualdo’s ordeal was not over. After the boat returned to shore he was given first aid and then arrested in Suriname for being undocumented. 

It is reported that he then spent 16 days in a prison in Paramaribo. 

His nightmare finally ended when he was returned to his home country on a flight which landed in Belem, Para state, also in northern Brazil.   

Overjoyed, Romualdo described it as ‘the most important day’ of his life and said: ‘I was born again.’

Original Article

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