Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, who was trying to row across the Atlantic, is still missing off the Azores, the Portuguese navy announced on Sunday, while his entourage had indicated the day before that his body had been "found dead" inside his boat.

"The search ended yesterday at the end of the day (Saturday) without it being possible to find the victim," the Portuguese navy said in a statement.

A navy spokeswoman said during the rescue operation rescuers had "strong reason to believe that a body might be inside" the cabin of the dinghy "L'Audacieux ".

“There have been some confusions that we are currently trying to clear up.

We don't know any more.

We are awaiting information from the Portuguese authorities, ”said the adventurer's team in France.

The man was no longer in his boat on Friday evening

According to the Portuguese Navy press release, the first merchant navy ship to have reached the position from which the alert had departed "reported having seen the boat and the navigator in the early hours of Friday January 21, but when they approached the boat, he indicated that the man was no longer there. The septuagenarian's canoe was found upside down, as evidenced by a photo released by the Portuguese navy where we see the hull of the boat floating on the surface, then hoisted aboard one of its corvettes.

“One of the merchant vessels collected a waterproof bag which contained the navigator's identification documents inside,” she said in her statement.

The navigator, who had made himself known by crossing the Atlantic in a barrel in 2019, pushed by the winds and the currents, had aroused the concern of his relatives since Friday morning.

Not the first worries

“Unfortunately, since 00:34 yesterday morning (Friday), we no longer have any contact or any demonstration on his part,” members of his team said on Saturday morning.

According to them, he had triggered his two distress beacons, "indicating that he was 'in great difficulty'".

During the last contacts, Jean-Jacques Savin was north of Madeira, offshore, and was on his way to the island of Ponta Delgada, in the Azores archipelago, to repair.

Because shortly after his departure from Sagres (southern Portugal) on January 1, this great sportsman, “adventurer at heart”, was quickly diverted due to bad winds.

His initial route had thus been extended by 900 km and then he had to encounter serious energy and communication problems.


Rowing the Atlantic: The "lifeless" body of the 75-year-old Girondin adventurer was found in his canoe


Rowing across the Atlantic: Jean-Jacques Savin's team has lost contact with the septuagenarian

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