Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Briton Survives 16-Hour Ordeal in Whirlpool

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Briton Survives 16-Hour Ordeal in Whirlpool

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW DRUMMOND

A GENTLE holiday dip for Bill Francis turned into a 16-hour battle for survival after the 46-year-old Briton became trapped in a tidal whirlpool off the coast of Thailand.

Once in the grip of the current Mr Francis battled the afternoon, night and following morning to stay above the surface as the whirlpool threatened to drag him under.

Today he credited his swimming lessons and membership of a club at Hyde baths in Manchester for saving his life. Mr Francis said: "I'm still trying to get my bearings. It was like a dream. But it's a miracle I'm alive."

Although the British Embassy warns visitors about rip tides and frequent drownings off the holiday island of Phuket, nothing could have prepared Mr Francis for the ordeal which came to an end when he was spotted by fishermen in the Gulf of Thailand.

Having been dragged out to sea by the hidden current, he shared the waters with sharks and jellyfish as he waited in vain for a search and rescue mission. …

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