The boat was found after spending six months adrift at sea.


A sailboat lost in a heavy storm that took the life of a six-year-old girl floated some 2,000 miles before being found near Bermuda.

The Kolibri was spotted by a passing tanker ship 635 miles south-southeast of Bermuda in the North Atlantic. It was one of five yachts that called for help in early May when they were caught in a storm 500 miles south of the Azores archipelago.

A Portuguese search and rescue operation involving five aircraft and four rescue boats launched out of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel to aid distressed sailors on the Kolibri, the Manca 3, the Gandul, the Missy 32 and the Rêves D’ô yachts.

The sailors on Kolibri, Manca 3 and Gandul were recovered whilst the crew of the Missy 32 declined help and continued on their voyage. However a family of four on the Rêves D’ô were not as lucky.

The French yacht capsized and sank, and its occupants – Claude, 39, Sophie, 37 and their children Hugo, 9, and Inès, 6 – were forced to abandon ship. Sophie and Hugo made it into a life raft and were recovered by a cargo ship. Claude and Inès, however, were afloat for seven hours in lifejackets before a search plane spotted them and directed the Spanish hospital ship Esperanza del Mar to recover them. Inès, who was reportedly suffering from hypothermia, passed away soon after.

The family had had a number of problems over multiple days of heavy weather, including being swamped by a wave that caused a short circuit and fire on the yacht’s solar panel controller.

The video shows a Portuguese helicopter rescue crew bringing passengers up from one of the stricken yachts.

Related links: 

Fishermen rescued after a month adrift at sea

RNLI aid yachtsman and child in separate rescues