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Confusion over French adventurer death: Portugal denies finding body

The team of Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, said his body had been found with his capsized ‘canoe’ but now this is disputed

Rocky shore of Ribeira Grande at Sao Miguel island in Azores, Portugal

Mr Savin’s boat was found capsized and floating just off the Azores in Portugal but Portuguese rescuers now deny finding a body Pic: Karniewska / Shutterstock

The Portuguese coastguard has denied that it has found the body of 75-year-old French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin, contrary to a statement issued by his team.

Mr Savin, who was originally from Gironde (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) had set off on January 1 in a bid to row across the Atlantic in his specially-built canoe. 

The vessel was found capsized near the coast of the Azores on Friday, January 21. A video issued by the Portuguese team shows the hull of the boat floating upturned.

Mr Savin’s team said they had lost communication with him late on Thursday, January 20 and that the adventurer had fired two distress beacons.

One day later, the team issued a statement saying: “The body of Jean-Jacques has been found inside the cabin of his canoe l’Audacieux [The Audacious]...This time the ocean was stronger than our friend, who loved sailing and the sea so much.” 

It was widely reported that Mr Savin’s body had been found. But the Portuguese rescue team has now denied that it found a body.

On Sunday, January 23, it said: “Searches finished at the end of the day yesterday [Saturday, January 22] without it being possible to find the victim.”

A spokesperson for the Portuguese coastguard later told the AFP that the rescuers had previously had “very compelling reasons to believe that a body would be found inside”.

He said: “There has been confusion that we are now trying to clarify. We do not know any more for the moment. We are waiting for more information from the authorities.”

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French adventurer dies age 75 during Atlantic solo rowing attempt 

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