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Australian sailor and his dog rescued after 3 months at sea

July 18, 2023

Tim Shaddock, an Australian sailor, and his dog, Bella, were on a journey across the Pacific Ocean from La Paz in Mexico to French Polynesia before their boat was severely damaged by a storm and rough seas.

A white bearded man smiles
Tim Shaddock survived by drinking rainwater and eating raw fishImage: Grupomar/Atun Tuny/AP/picture alliance

An Australian sailor and his dog were rescued by a Mexican tuna trawler after spending three months adrift in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the fishing vessel's owner said Monday.

Tim Shaddock, 54, and his canine companion, Bella, embarked on their journey from the coastal city of La Paz in Mexico in April, with the goal of reaching French Polynesia, a distance of approximately 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles).

However, their plans took a drastic turn when their catamaran, named Aloha Toa, was severely damaged by rough seas, rendering its electronics useless.

A boat floating in blue water
Shaddock's Katamaran was discovered by a Mexican fishing trawlerImage: Grupomar/dpa/picture alliance

Rescued in 'precarious' state

The amateur sailor was rescued from the ocean by the Mexican fishing boat after enduring three months of isolation. The man and dog survived the ordeal by drinking rainwater and eating raw fish caught with their fishing gear.

The fishing boat company said the Sydney resident and his dog Bella were found in a "precarious" state without any provisions and shelter. The boat's crew provided them with medical attention, food and water, it said.

'A very difficult ordeal at sea'

In a video obtained by Australia's Nine News, Shaddock, sporting a shaggy beard and appearing visibly emaciated, expressed his gratitude to his rescuers.

The sailor said, despite the situation, he felt "in very good health."

"I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea," he said in another video. "I'm just needing rest and good food because I've been alone at sea a long time."

Shaddock and Bella are expected to reach the port of Manzanillo on the Pacific coast of Mexico on Tuesday.

ss/jsi (AP, AFP)