Dramatic pictures capture the moment a tourist who floated out to sea for 21 hours on an inflatable sunbed is found ‘fried’ but alive off of Crete
- Olga Kuldo was swept out to sea off the resort of Rethymno in northern Crete
- The 55-year-old Russian floated on her sunbed for 21 hours – including overnight
- Rescued when patrol plane checking for migrants saw her seven miles offshore
- The medic needed hospital treatment for exposure and resulting heart problems
This is the moment a Russian holidaymaker was rescued after being found seven miles out to sea on an inflatable lilo ‘fried’ by the sun for 21 hours.
Olga Kuldo, 55, was saved when she was spotted by a border patrol plane searching the seas for illegal immigrants off the coast of Crete.
Mrs Kuldo, of Zelenograd, Russia, was swept out to sea at the resort of Rethymno on the north of the Greek island after being caught in a strong current.
She floated through one night and was badly burnt by the hot sun the following day.
Dramatic images show her desperately grappling with the float as Frontex workers throw her a rope to climb onto their vessel.
Frontex told The Sun in a statement: ‘On 28 June in the morning, a Slovak patrol plane deployed by Frontex in Greece was involved in a Search and Rescue operation when the Hellenic Coast Guard requested our plane to search for a missing person in the sea above Rethymno, Crete.
‘At 10.40 our aircraft located the missing person, floating on an air mattress, nine nautical miles from Rethymno and one nautical mile from the coastline close to Lavris.
‘A Hellenic Coast Guard vessel was dispatched and rescued the 55 year old female who had been in the sea for about 20 hours ‘
Mrs Kuldo needed hospital treatment for exposure and resulting heart problems.
She had been staying with her husband Oleg, 59, and daughter Yulia, 28, at the resort.
Family members alerted rescuers after she failed to return to her hotel room after a late afternoon swim.
But it was 21 hours later that she was spotted from the air after a huge boat and jet ski search failed to locate her.
A rescue vessel brought her back to shore and she was rushed to hospital with ‘heart problems’ and ‘hypothermia’ after suffering from exposure and sun stroke.
Her relieved daughter Yulia, 28, a TV producer, posted on social media: ‘Miracles happen.’
She said her mother, an ultrasound diagnostics doctor, had been ‘burned to ashes’ by the daytime sun before the EU Frontex agency plane spotted her.
A local report on the island said she was on her subbed ‘when she was carried away to the open sea so she could not be seen from the beach’.
It is unclear if she fell asleep but reports say she was carried away by a ‘strong current’.
Local reports described Olga as ‘lucky’ to survive.
The main damage to her health was from a cold night after she was wet for hours clinging to the air bed.
‘She stayed alive despite a cold night, strong wind, occasional rain and even a small thunder storm,’ reported neakriti.gr
‘Her body temperature was as low as 32 C degrees’ (normal is 37C) – causing hypothermia, it was reported.
‘The tears of her family turned to incredible happiness.’
Day time temperatures can reach 35C, while at night they can drop to 18C – not cold but Olga had been hours in the water during the long night.