From Capsize to Rescue, It Took Four Hours
As I listened to the debate on whether or not we could have rescued the lady whose car slipped out of Likoni ferry and sunk into the Indian Ocean, I remembered the story of Walrus Kappa Toski.
The year was 2008, and the 65-year-old polish national was returning home from a worldwide solo sailing tour in his small boat.
His trip was progressing well, but he hit a storm off the coast of France and his boat capsized. It did not sink; but everything that was on board poured into the angry sea.
It was in the middle of a busy shipping lane, so he held onto the top of his capsized boat, hoping that one of the passing ships would rescue him.
Five ships passed by, but none seemed to notice him. In fact, the last one passed so close it nearly crushed him.
After 45 minutes, he saw his satellite phone floating next to the boat. Surprisingly, it was still working; but its phone book had been wiped out.
The only phone number he could remember off-head is that of his wife, who was in the Polish capital of Warsaw.
He called her and asked her to get him help.
She, in turn, called her friend who lived in Paris, France; and her friend informed the French coast guard.
Within 25 minutes, a Forker aircraft was dispatched to search for him; and, using his satellite phone signal, it located him 40 miles off the coast of France. The pilot of the Fokker spotted him still clinging to his capsized boat.
As he was turning back, the Fokker pilot sent Kappa Toski's coordinates to a helicopter rescue team that was on standby.
Within 50 minutes, Kappa Toski was on board the rescue helicopter.
From capsize to rescue, it took four hours.