A Colombian woman who had been missing for two years was found alive floating in a rubber ring in the ocean by a fisherman, according to reports. Angelica Gaitan raised her arms in the air signaling for help when she was discovered by fisherman Rolando Visbal on Saturday, nearly two miles off Puerto Colombia, reported Newsweek.
Visbal said at first he mistook the woman for a log in the distance before discovering it was a woman floating, Newsweek reported.
The dramatic rescue was recorded by Visbal and posted on his social media that has since gone viral with over 163K views.
In the video, the 46-year-old woman is seen drifting at sea. When Visbal makes the discovery he yells out in both Spanish and English. “Hola? Hello?” he yels.
When the woman did not respond, Visbal, along with his friend Gustave, threw to her a rope attached to a life preserver and managed to pull the fishing boat as close to her as they could. Within seconds, Gaitan, who appeared motionless and frigid, was pulled out of the ocean waters.
The stunning rescue shows Visbal pulling the woman onto the boat as gently as he could as the woman appeared to be moaning in pain and trying to catch her breath as he placed her onto the floor of the boat. The video shows Visbal trying to give Gaitan water and then asking for her name. “Como se llama?” He asked. She did not respond. Visbal, who appeared calm throughout the ordeal, then saw Gaitan put her hands up to her face and burst into tears.
The woman, who allegedly had been adrift for eight hours, was nearly unconscious and unable to respond to the rescuers because she had suffered from exhaustion and hypothermia,, the New York Post reported.
After the harrowing ordeal, Gaitan was taken to a local hospital for medical attention, where Newsweek reported she shared her dismal story and spoke about how she ended up in the ocean.
Gaitan said she had been a victim of domestic abuse for years and in September 2018, she managed to leave that situation, losing touch with her family members who had no idea where she was. Gaitan said she wandered the streets for six months before seeking help at the Women’s Office in Barranquilla, Newsweek reported.
Gaitan said she recently left the shelter, having decided to take her life, and went to the beach, reported Newsweek. She told the local media that she felt solace being there.
“Being on the seashore, I found myself alone and in solitude; I decided to jump into the sea and let it take me,” she said, as reported in Newsweek. “I just had to hope this nightmare would soon be over.”
During an interview with RCN Radio Barranquilla, Gaitan said she doesn’t have any recollection of the floating in the ocean and nearly dying, and felt that her miraculous rescue was a rebirth. “I feel like I was born again, thank God. If I had an opportunity or help I would not make that decision. Now I am very grateful because God gave me a new opportunity to move forward.”
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Gaitan’s disappearance and rescue.
In the meantime, Gaitan’s family is raising money to move their mother into their home in Bogota, the Post reported.