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French rower’s body not recovered: Portuguese navy

The body of the French adventurer trying to row across the Atlantic has not been recovered, the Portuguese navy said Sunday, a day after his support team said he had been found dead in his boat.

“The search ended at the end of the day yesterday (Saturday) without it being possible to find the victim,” said a statement from the navy on the search for 75-year-old Jean-Jacques Savin.

Questioned by AFP, a navy spokesman said that during the rescue operation, the team had had “strong reasons to believe that a body could be inside” the cabin of Savin’s vessel, the Audacieux.

A member of Savin’s support team told AFP: “There has been some confusion that we are currently trying to clear up. We don’t know any more.

“We are waiting for information from the Portuguese authorities.”

The navy’s statement contradicted Saturday’s message from the team that was backing Savin in his trans-Atlantic bid.

They said the Portuguese coastguard had located his overturned boat off the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores on Friday and that on Saturday, a diver had found Savin’s body inside the cabin.

Savin, an avid triathlete, set off from mainland Portugal’s southern tip on January 1.

He had been hoping to reach the Caribbean, in his rowing boat, which was eight metres long and 1.70 metres wide, with a rowing station at its centre.

But there had been no contact with him since overnight Thursday to Friday when he activated two distress beacons.