Home News French girl dies from cold off Azores after boat sinks

French girl dies from cold off Azores after boat sinks

Published on 07/05/2015

A six-year-old French girl died from hypothermia on Thursday after a sailboat she and her family were on capsized during the night off the mid-Atlantic Azores islands, the Portuguese navy said.

“The little girl spent seven and a half hours in water that was 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit)” before she and her father were recovered by a Spanish hospital ship, Portuguese navy spokesman Commander Paulo Vicente told AFP.

The girl’s mother and nine-year-old brother had managed to climb onto a lifeboat after their vessel capsized, and were rescued during the night.

All the little girl and her father had to keep them afloat were life jackets, and rescue only came after a Portuguese air force plane spotted them in the water.

The family’s boat sank about 550 nautical miles (1,000 kilometres) to the southwest of the Portuguese islands.

Weather conditions were very rough in this part of the Atlantic on Wednesday, and although they were starting to improve on Thursday, some waves were still five metres (16 feet) high.

Eight people sailing on three other boats have been rescued in the area since Wednesday, the Portuguese navy said.