A 22-year-old British tourist who was snorkelling in Spain has been rescued after he was swept out to sea and spent more than three hours trying to get back to the shore.
Rescuers who had to help him back to an accessible spot on the beach by swimming with him said he probably would have drowned in another few minutes if he had not been found.
The near-tragedy took place on Sunday afternoon when emergency services received a call to say that the British tourist been missing for more than three hours. The identity of the caller was not revealed.
They told emergency services that the British man had been snorkelling in the area of Cala Marmols, on Mallorca island, in the eastern Spanish region of the Balearic Islands and the person who called the emergency services knew he had not returned because they had been asked to keep an eye on his belongings.
The Spanish Civil Guard started a search and rescue operation. With the help of a helicopter, and flying over the area and the nearby cliffs, the rescuers spotted a person in the sea clearly in difficulty and struggling to reach the seashore.
A member of the Special Group of Subaquatic Activities (GEAS) jumped into the sea and swam towards the man.
They quickly realised he was exhausted with no chance anymore of reaching land under his own steam.
The spokesman of the Spanish Civil Guard told Newsflash: “He was totally exhausted.”
They confirmed that the victim was a 22-year-old man of British nationality who had been staying on the island as a tourist but he spoke perfect Spanish.
The steep cliffs in the region made it difficult to carry out a rescue and so instead the rescuer in the water with him asked him to hold the neoprene swimsuit and dragged him to the base of the cliff. Once there another member of the GEAS helped the tourist out of the water, the Spanish Civil Guard statement confirmed.
The victim was taken to the Son Espases Hospital by helicopter where he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration.
Spanish Civil Guard officials told Newsflash that the man is now fine and in good health but said that when found he was on the point of complete exhaustion and they estimated that within the next 15 minutes he probably would have drowned.