THE same Salvamento Maritimo helicopter that saved 22 marooned Javea paddleboarders was involved three days later in rescuing a yachtsman.
The 75-year-old Frenchman was sailing alone when his catamaran got too close to the Els Pallers cliffs in Portitxol bay.
He was trying to take shelter from the gales that had been blowing for days and, unaware that there were submerged rocks in the area, scraped and holed the left hull, which was soon submerged.
With a wind-damaged mast and a fast-sinking craft, the sailor made a call for help to the Emergency Services.
In normal circumstances they would have sent out the Salvamento Maritimo boat, Salvamar Diphda, based in Javea but this had a faulty engine and instead the helicopter was sent out to winch the sailor to safety.
One of the rescue team descended to help hoist him up to the helicopter but he refused, saying he was too old to do it.
Looking for a solution, the rescue team advised the Sol Tercer de Xabia fishing boat, out near the Portitxol Island at the time, of their problem.
The French sailor then took his Zodiac and made for the fishing boat which took him to Javea port, although the Sol Tercer skipper Juan Antonio Erades revealed that he later returned to retrieve some of his belongings and other items from the stricken catamaran.
The 75-year-old has a long way ahead of him, as he hopes to continue his journey, sailing single handed to the Caribbean once the boat has been repaired.