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A French sailor survived a 16-hour ordeal on a capsized boat by using air bubbles.

The 62-year-old sailor issued a distress signal on Monday night from the 12m longboat Jeanne Solo Sailor out of Lisbon, Portugal.

The call was made at a distance of 22.5 kilometers from the western Sargas Islands near the Galicia region in northwestern Spain.

The sailor’s survival was “almost impossible” when Spanish coastguard officials found the sailboat face down in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

A rescue boat carrying five divers and three helicopters was dispatched to rescue the unnamed man.

As the sun set, one of the helicopters spotted the sailor’s boat capsized, BBC News reported.

A diver was sent to find the sailor who crashed from inside the boat to inform rescuers that he was alive.

He was found wearing a neoprene immersion suit, submerged in water up to his knees.

Due to rough seas Monday night, the sailor had to wait until morning to be rescued.

Rescuers tethered a buoyant balloon to the boat to keep it from sinking into the icy waters and waited until morning.

The next morning, two divers swam under the boat to help rescue the sailors.

Vicente Cobelo, a member of the Coast Guard’s special operations team, said: “He actively dived into the water and freedive with the help of divers who had to pull him out of the water because it was difficult for him to put on a suit. Into the water,” told Spanish media.

The sailor was then airlifted to safety and taken to hospital. He was discharged quickly without any medical issues.

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