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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 22 November, 2019

Scuba divers survive 48 hours stranded at sea in shark-infested waters

The two men were part of a group of five divers enjoying themselves off the island of Malpelo when a current swept them out into the open Pacific.

shutterstock_433280431 Malpelo Island Source: Shutterstock/Cristian Laverde79

TWO COLOMBIAN SCUBA divers who were swept out to sea by a rip tide and spent 48 hours adrift surrounded by sharks and jellyfish have survived to tell their tale.

Jorge Morales and Dario Rodriguez were part of a group of five recreational divers enjoying themselves off the Colombian island of Malpelo when a current swept them out into the open Pacific.

The search continues for two members of the group who are still missing.

Morales and Rodriguez, separated from the others, huddled together and urinated on each other to stay warm, sometimes curling up into a foetal position as they floated, they told journalists.

Morales said the first nightfall was one of the hardest moments. But it made them realise they had to stick to their survival training, tying themselves together with special cords to avoid being separated.

Sharks began circling them, as well as jellyfish – which turned out to be worse.

“They attacked us,” said Morales.

What pain. Very intense. I don’t know how many jellyfish there were, but it was a very tough moment.

He said by the second day they were delirious and shivering with cold, even as the sun burned their faces just above the surface.

“Thinking about our families kept our hope alive,” he said.

Help finally arrived in the form of a search plane. They heard its engine, then saw it approach.

As it closed in on them, they saw the crew waving to them. A navy boat was then dispatched to rescue them.

They were plucked from the water last Friday, then spent the next four days aboard the boat recovering and trying unsuccessfully to help rescuers locate the remaining two divers, fellow Colombians Erika Diaz and Carlos Jimenez.

The fifth member of the group, Australian Peter Morse, was rescued the day before Morales and Rodriguez.

Morales said he had no plans to return to Malpelo to dive.

© – AFP, 2016

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