In a survival saga for the ages, a Colombian woman who had fallen off the grid two years ago was miraculously discovered alive at sea by flabbergasted fishermen. Video of her dramatic rescue has since gone viral online.
“Thank God I was alive,” said Angelica Gaitan, 46, who was found Saturday by Roland Visbal while floating 1.2 miles off of Puerto Colombia.
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In the stunning footage shot by her rescuer, Visbal and a friend named Gustavo can be seen maneuvering their vessel toward the suspended woman, who appears unresponsive. In fact, they initially mistook Gaitan for a piece of driftwood until she raised her hands to signal for help, The Sun reported.
The valiant duo is heard in the clip trying to get the waterlogged woman’s attention by calling out in both Spanish and English. Unfortunately, Gaitan is unable to reply, with subsequent reports stating that she suffered from exhaustion and hypothermia, having been adrift for eight hours.
The pair finally managed, with some difficulty, to retrieve the castaway from the water using a rope attached to a life preserver they had thrown to her. The Sun reported that the victim’s first words after being rescued were, “I was born again. God did not want me to die.”
Further attempts to make conversation and give her water backfired as Gaitan burst into tears on camera, apparently overcome with emotion over her terrifying ordeal.
Fortunately, the heroic fishermen managed to bring the survivor to shore, where she was reportedly tended to by kind locals before being taken to a hospital.
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After Gaitan was identified, her harrowing backstory came to light. As it turns out, the drifter had fallen out of touch with her family two years ago, and they had no idea where she was until now.
She later told RCN radio that the gut-wrenching predicament was the culmination of 20 years of domestic abuse she said she suffered at the hands of her partner.
“The abuse began in the first pregnancy. He beat me, he violently abused me,” Gaitan revealed in the shocking interview. “In my second pregnancy, the abuse continued and I could not get away from him because the girls were small.”
Unfortunately, despite Gaitan allegedly reporting the incidents, the police detained the abuser for only 24 hours, after which he returned home and resumed assaulting her, The Mirror reported.
The tipping point came in September 2018 when, according to Gaitan, her partner “broke my face and tried to kill me.” Not able to stomach her situation any longer, the distraught woman ran away and ended up staying in Barranquilla for six months. An eventual attempt to seek help at a homeless shelter failed and she fell into a deep depression.
“I did not want to continue with my life,” said Gaitan, who later took a bus to the beach and “decided to jump into the sea.” The survivor said she remembers little after that point since she became unconscious.
Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Gaitan’s disappearance and rescue.
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Local media have since located Gaitan’s daughter, Alejandra Castiblanco, who along with her sister is currently raising money to move Gaitan to their home in Bogotá.