Spanish police have saved a man drifting off the coast near the port of Tarifa. The man, who was found clinging to a life buoy in serious condition, was later identified as a captain of a large Singaporean cargo ship.
Passers-by spotted the drifter struggling to stay afloat in high winds and strong waves, the police said on Tuesday.
The man was wearing only a white shirt and "gripping a rigid life buoy fitted with a beacon," they added. Officers managed to reach the man despite the waves and take him to the shore in the port of Tarifa.
"He presented signs of extreme hypothermia, bloated lips, face and eyes, and swollen eyelids due to exposure to the sun and salty water," showing that he most likely drifted for several hours, according to the police.
The drifter also had bruises and severe hip pain, making the transfer to hospital difficult, according to a report by the Spanish agency EFE published in the daily "La Vanguardia."
The Spanish Interior Ministry praised the rescue on Twitter, describing the man's state as "very serious."
Hours before the man was rescued on Monday, a Singaporean cargo ship reported that their captain "may have fallen overboard." The vessel, named "Morning Ninni" was sailing close to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the African coast.
Spanish authorities later confirmed that the rescued man was indeed the ship's captain. He remains in serious condition, according to the police.
dj/sms (dpa, EFE)