Israeli, Italian Survive 8 Days on Raft
October 9, 2007 - 2:59pm
MUMBAI, India (AP) - An Israeli woman and an Italian man survived on a life raft for eight days in the Arabian Sea after
their yacht sank in a storm, the Indian coast guard said Tuesday.
The couple, identified as Libi Belozerzki, 27, and Pierpaolo Mori, 35, had set out from the Maldives on a yacht planning
to sail to the Red Sea, but their boat overturned in a late monsoon storm, said Commandant Raj Putran of the Indian coast
"We went through nine days and nine nights in the open sea. It was a nightmare," Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper quoted
Belozerzki as saying.
"Only after we were rescued did I realize how scary it was. We didn't have any food or water left. All we thought about
was how to get out of it alive," she said, adding that they managed to catch some fish and a sea turtle, which they ate raw.
Putran said ships in the area were told to look out for Belozerzki and Mori after the Rome Maritime Rescue Coordination
Center lost contact with them Sept. 24.
A Belgian tug sighted them and picked them up on Oct. 3, he said. "The yacht had a life raft on board and they survived
because they had emergency rations and water."
The two were taken to a hospital in the southern Indian city of Kochi, where they were being treated for dehydration
and skin problems due to exposure to the sun and sea, he said.
They were released and returned to Italy on Monday, said Daniel Zonshine, Israel's consul general in Mumbai. "It was
quite an experience, but they survived," he said.
Deceptively calm weather that follows the monsoon season may have encouraged the two sailing enthusiasts to set out on
their journey, Putran said.
"People often sail all the way up from Australia. With the weather turning better, they must have thought things were
coming back to normal and so set sail," he said.