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Man swam all night to escape drowning

Yachtsman was knocked overboard without lifejacket off Landes coast and was found hours later on beach

A MAN has had an amazing escape from drowning after swimming all night to reach the shore after he fell off his boat off the Landes coast.

Jean Damitio, a 52-year-old from Dax, had left the port of Capbreton around 18.00 on Sunday and his 10m yacht was found washed up on a beach south of the port less than four hours later.

Police and the marine prefecture launched a search including boats and aircraft but found no trace of the yachtsman.

He had made a mistake in manoeuvring the boat and was knocked overboard without his lifejacket.

Mr Damitio said he managed to keep swimming through the night in waters of around 17C and with very little swell. He was finally found around 13 hours later by a man out walking on the beach at Ondres, south of Capbreton, in the early hours of the morning.

Police said he was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia but was conscious when found and was treated by pompiers before being airlifted by helicopter to hospital in Bayonne.

Jean Damitio talks to France3 Aquitaine

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