French adventurer Alain Bombard dies at 80

20th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

TOULON, France, July 19 (AFP) - Alain Bombard, the French adventurer who crossed the Atlantic without food or water in order to prove that shipwrecked sailors can survive for long periods, died Tuesday at the age of 80, his family said.

TOULON, France, July 19 (AFP) - Alain Bombard, the French adventurer who crossed the Atlantic without food or water in order to prove that shipwrecked sailors can survive for long periods, died Tuesday at the age of 80, his family said.

Born in Paris in 1924, Bombard trained as a doctor and his life was changed after he saw the aftermath of a shipwreck off the northern French coast in which more than 20 sailors died.

Determined to prove that it is possible to survive in a blow-up raft using the scantiest of resources, he took to sea in 1952 and for 65 days lived by consuming small quantities of salt-water and the plankton which it contained.

When he arrived in Bardados he was in a deplorable state of health and was immediately hospitalised.

He obtained worldwide fame when his memoirs of the voyage were published in "The Bombard Story."

His research led to major improvements in the standard safety equipment onboard ships and for many years he received letters from grateful sailors who survived being cast adrift thanks to his experience.

Bombard, who had five children, was also a Socialist politician who served as a European deputy from 1981 to 1994. In 1981 he was briefly secretary of state for the environment under president Francois Mitterrand, a position he held for only a month.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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