A six-year-old girl who braved seven-and-a-half hours in the ocean with her father amid 10-metre (33-foot) waves after her family’s yacht sank south of the Azores on Wednesday has tragically died.
Portuguese authorities announced the death yesterday (Thursday) after a total of 12 people were rescued in four separate incidents on the treacherous seas.
The French girl and her father were travelling with her mother and brother when their boat sank around midnight on Wednesday.
The mother and 9-year-old son climbed into the yacht’s lifeboat and were later picked up by a merchant ship.
A Naval plane managed to locate the father and daughter in the water, buoyed up by their lifejackets, in the early hours and successfully threw them an inflatable lifeboat.
The pair were rescued shortly after dawn, but the exposure proved too much for the child who could not be revived, and died of hypothermia.
According to France24, she had spent over seven hours in water that was 21ºC.
As national media reported yesterday, fierce storms caused four yachts in the area at the time to call for help. A total of 12 people had to be rescued.