A woman whose family reported her missing in 2018 was found floating alive in the Caribbean Sea off a northern Colombian port town on September 26.
This footage shot by one of her rescuers, a fisherman named Rolando Visbal, captures the moment he and a friend spotted the woman, Angélica Gaitán, some two kilometers out from Puerto Colombia.
In the video, the pair rush Gaitán to land after pulling her onto their boat. Upon reaching the shore, locals manage to walk her up the beach and seat her in a chair, where she appears to drift in and out of consciousness.
As they try to make her comfortable, a man can be seen checking her pulse and they eventually carry her to a car where she is driven away with a police escort.
“The man who rescued me in the middle of the sea told me that I was unconscious, floating,” Gaitán told Colombian radio.
“Thank God I was alive, and he threw me a life preserver. They brought me to a health center where I am receiving the necessary care.”
Gaitán told Colombian media her disappearance in 2018 was an attempt to flee her abusive ex-husband following a particularly brutal assault.
She said that after being forced to leave a refuge recently, she decided to end her life. She borrowed money to take a bus to the sea and threw herself in, she said. She floated for eight hours before being found by Visbal.
Gaitán’s account of the circumstances of her disappearance were contradicted by one of her daughters, who was quoted by local media saying her father never abused her mother and that her mental health had declined following a heart attack.
Gaitán’s daughters issued a joint video statement claiming they hadn’t heard from their mother since 2018, when she was reported to be in Ecuador. They added that two years later, they received notice that Gaitán was under the care of a psychiatrist in Baranquilla. Credit: Rolando Visbal via Storyful