Rio de Janeiro: Seven Brazilian fishermen were rescued alive Saturday after swimming for almost three days in the ocean following their shipwreck Wednesday night, officials said.
The fishermen were found on two beaches in the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraiba and taken to the Trauma Hospital in the regional capital of João Pessoa, according to the port authority in a communique.
Three rescue teams are taking part in searching for the two men who are still missing.
The ship called Horizonte II went down in the Atlantic at around 10 p.m. Wednesday, offshore from the border between the states of Pernambuco and Paraiba.
Ship’s Capt. Ramiro Freires Castro Junior said in an interview on the G1 portal that the fire broke out in the stern of the vessel, spread rapidly across the deck and caused a butane gas cylinder to explode.
The fishermen were unable to put on life jackets because the fire stopped them from reaching the lifeboats where they were stowed, so they jumped in the ocean without them.
The nine in the water tied themselves together with a rope and started swimming in the direction of land, though the rope eventually broke from damage by the fire, one of the fishermen said.
The first to arrive on shore was Freires Castro himself, who reached the beach at Tambaba Saturday morning in a state of exhaustion.
The other two fishermen arrived at Praia Bela beach in the municipality of Conde, some 25 km south of João Pessoa.