-- A Bulgarian man’s bold attempt to sail to America from England in a 14-foot dinghy was thwarted by rescue crews who were concerned about his safety.
The man was severely seasick when a Royal National Lifeboat Institution rescue crew found him only 5 miles into the 3,000-mile voyage.
“He was exceedingly cold, wet and violently ill,” institution press officer Jo Dadds told ABC News today.
“He had packed one bag of food and one bag of clothing with him,” Dadds said. “He insisted on continuing his journey when our crew members first found him. He didn’t want any help at all.”
The man was found with a Bulgarian passport that included a U.S. visa. A yacht sailing by the dinghy Saturday noticed the intrepid sailor and informed the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, according to Dadds.
“He was found struggling with strong wind and tide on Saturday afternoon along the coast of Mudeford," Dadds said. “He had bought the dinghy for 300 pounds [about $500] earlier on Saturday morning from a boating club.”
The strong wind sweeping along the coast filled the man’s boat with water.
“We explained to him how crucial it was to transfer him back to the shore,’ Dadds said. “There was no cover on his boat. It was the kind of dinghy that kids learn to sail in.”
After 45 minutes’ resistance, the man was finally taken back to the English shore by the rescue crew. He was later brought to a hospital by the awaiting ambulance crew.
“Without our crew, he would have died.” Dadds said. “That was a voyage well over 3,000 miles. He didn’t have a mobile phone. He didn’t have a radio. He didn’t have a life jacket with him.”