This is the headline story in today's paper Diario de Avisos, and it puts a real perspective on the rescue services' recent announcement that people could be asked to pay for rescue it they get into trouble when they haven't  taken sensible precautions before embarking on a risky enterprise.
Andre, a Russian who has been living on a beach in Tenerife for some months, decided he would go to America. His boat wasn't equipped with flares, or a radio, but he did have a GPS and his mobile phone, so what could go wrong?
Well, if I read the story correctly (my Spanish isn't perfect) he decided not to use the GPS. I guess that was okay, because if he kept going in a straight line west he would reach America eventually, right?
On Saturday he phoned his Mum in Russia.
"My boat's sinking - I'm on the life-raft - get help."
She called the Russian Ambassador in Paris (don't ask me why Paris) who alerted the authorities here.
Rescue boats went out and didn't find him, so the helicopters were called in. They took two days and eight trips to find him. Eight trips at public expense out over the vast Atlantic ocean to find one small inflatable with only his mobile phone signal to locate him by.
If that had been my phone I'd be dead - it only holds a charge for two days.
For the whole story go to www.diariodeavisos.es


  1. Wow - what a great story, glad there was a happy ending!

  2. Yep, glad there was a happy ending and there is no rescue for stupidity!

  3. How totally irresponsible of the sailor. Happy is still alive. Given his background I wonder who will pay the costs involved.

  4. This issue of rescue reimbursement comes up frequently in my area, too. People get lost in the mountains or stuck on a cliff they had no business climbing. I'm glad the guy on the raft was found. Not every story has a happy ending :-(

  5. What an idiot! There's definitely a case for making him pay for the rescue.

  6. Well he may have been foolish but I like his sense of adventure to just go for it. America wouldn't have been discovered if not for that.

  7. I suppose as writers we should be looking at the story potential of this. Talk about leading a charmed life.


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