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Jeanne SOLO Sailor, 40 feet (12 meters) tall, issued a distress signal at 8:23 p.m. local time on Monday from 14 miles from the Sisargas Islands in northwestern Spain’s Galicia region, the coast guard said. Tracking data showed it set sail from the Portuguese capital Lisbon the previous morning.

As a rescue boat with five divers set sail, one of three helicopters sent to assist in the search found the upturned vessel as the sun went down.

A diver was hoisted to the hull for signs of life, and the man inside, who was not named, responded to him hitting the hull by knocking on the door from the inside.

With rough seas making rescue impossible, they attached buoyancy balloons to the hull to prevent it from sinking further and waited until morning.

Two divers who swam under the boat to help the sailor out, found the sailor wearing a neoprene immersion suit and submerged in the water to his knees.

Vicente Corbello, a member of the Coast Guard’s special operations team, told local television that the man voluntarily jumped into the icy water and swam under the boat to the surface.

“He took the initiative to launch and free dive and with the help of divers they had to pull him over because it was very difficult for him to get out in a suit,” he said.

He was airlifted to safety and taken to hospital for examination, but was quickly discharged without any problems.

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