Shipwrecked Argentine swims seven hours to get help

March 27th, 2009 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, March 27 (EFE) A 45-year-old man swam seven hours to get help from the Argentine coast guard, an act that saved his girlfriend after their shipwreck.
“It was tremendous, we’ve been born again,” Laura Di Battista, who spent 12 hours floating on a life preserver, said of her odyssey Thursday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Di Battista and Luis Crespo were travelling in a boat from the city of La Plata to Colonia, Uruguay, which is some 40 km away, when she felt ill and they decided to turn around. But the boat’s hull was damaged and it sank quickly.

“I wanted to swim, but I couldn’t, I didn’t have any strength. Luis kissed me on the forehead and said: ‘My love, I’m going to go get help, wait’,” said the woman, who was rescued early Wednesday after being spotted from a helicopter.

Di Battista was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia when she was found by the coast guard.

The 37-year-old woman said she prayed for her life and that of her boyfriend for what “seemed unending” hours, losing the feeling in her legs and getting pounded by the strong waves.

“I asked that Luis would make it safely. Luckily, he’s in good shape and that helped him,” she said.

After swimming for seven hours, Crespo reached the coast and contacted the coast guard, which sent two boats and a helicopter to search for Di Battista, who was found after two hours in the River Plate.

“Without a doubt, we were born again,” Di Battista said.

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