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Sunday, September 4, 2022 – A fisherman, Romualdo Macedo Rodrigues, 44, miraculously survived after floating in a freezer in the ocean for 11 days without food and water.
Rodrigues, was travelling in a 23ft-long wooden boat from Oiapoque, in Amapa state, Brazil at the end of July aiming to get to Ilet la Mere, an island off the coast of French Guiana, to spend a few days fishing but disaster struck and his boat started sinking.
Rodrigues who does not know how to swim, panicked and climbed into a freezer he had on board, hoping he won’t drown.
He said he had no food or water and lost more than 10lbs during his ordeal.
He was eventually spotted 11 days later by the crew of another boat, who pulled him from the sea off the coast of Suriname, which borders French Guiana. Video footage showed the incredible moment Romualdo was rescued, but he was dehydrated and disorientated, had sunstroke and his clothes were torn.
Speaking to local media after he was saved, Romualdo said: ‘What troubled me most was the thirst.
‘I thought I was going to be attacked by sharks because there are lots of curious fish on the high seas.’
Romualdo said it was ‘the most important day’ of his life and that he was ‘born again’.
‘I heard a noise and there was a boat above the freezer,’ he added. ‘Except they thought there was no one there.
‘Then they slowly got closer, my vision was fading, and then I said, “My God, the boat.” I raised my arms and asked for help.’
It was thought he was rescued around 280 miles away from where his boat sank.
‘This fridge, for me, was God. A miracle.’
Police officer Luis Carlos Porto said: ‘He was very thin, debilitated, but in very good spirits.
‘The wounds he had on his body, which were related to the sun, were already much better.
‘He says he had vision problems due to the excessive heat, salt, and light, but he was very calm and in good health.’
As soon as he returned to shore Romualdo was given first aid – but was then arrested by police in Suriname for not having the right immigration documents.
He was reported to have spent 16 days in custody before finally flying home to Belem in Para state, Brazil.
Watch the rescue video below