German yachtsman jurgen hohenlohe talks about his 14-hour ordeal

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20-08-2013
As the 14 hours ticked by, German yachtsman Jurgen de Hohenlohe admitted yesterday that he started to fear that he would never be found. Hohenlohe, 43, and Peter Melis, 36, were plucked to safety by an air sea rescue helicopter and a local fishing boat on Friday morning, after having spent all night in the water near the island of Dragonera. Their yacht Mowgli was hit by a huge wave on Thursday evening and started to sink. Hohenlohe said yesterday as he was discharged from the Clinica Juaneda in Palma, “I started to think that nobody would find me, but I managed to keep my spirits up and tried to compose a song by whistling.” He said when the wave hit the boat, the bedroom door was smashed open and the boat started to take on water quickly. The captain said the yacht was sinking and he managed to find time to grab the GPS satellite navigation device, slip on his life jacket and made an emergency call to his girlfriend, Beatriz Delgado, before jumping over board. The yacht's skipper Melis did the same. It was Delgado who contacted the air sea rescue service while the two men spent a couple of hours bobbing about, clinging on to a plank of wood: they even managed to sleep a while on the wood. But the wind was blowing up and the two men were drifting further and further apart and away from the sinking yacht. At one point Hohenlohe saw the fast ferry Milennium heading straight towards him, he desperately swum out of the way and blew his distress whistle, “but nobody heard me.” As the hours passed a helicopter was scrambled, its searchlight swept over him, but nobody spotted him. That was the point he started to fear it was all over, but he refused to give in without a fight. While whistling and singing, he started to ditch all his clothes which were dragging him under. Hohenlohe said that at one point he tried to kill himself by putting his belt round his neck “but I had no force and I realised what a stupid idea it was. I also knew that my girlfriend would find me. “I started to feel more up beat and started to sing, whistle and tell myself jokes, more, three hours later I was found and saved by the helicopter.”

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