A woman whose family reported her missing in 2018 was found floating alive in the Caribbean Sea off a northern Colombian port town.
A missing mother has been found floating alive off the coast of Colombia two years after she lost contact with her family and vanished.
The woman lost contact with her family two years ago and they had no idea where she was until she was found floating around a mile off a beach from the town of Puerto Colombia in Atlantico on 26 September.
She was later identified as Angelica Gaitan, 46, who was found in a very weakened state with signs of hypothermia by fisherman Rolando Visbal after spending eight hours in the sea.
After her rescue, she told local media that she had jumped in the ocean to kill herself. She said that she was subjected to 20 years of domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, which cut her off from her family and friends, and she felt suicidal.
According to Colombian news site La Libertad, the fishermen – on seeing the struggling person stranded in the ocean – initially thought she was a log. It wasn’t until they drew closer that they realised it was a woman waving her hands for help.
The video shows the moment Visbal and a friend simply identified as ‘Gustavo’ approach the floating woman who is almost completely unresponsive.
Visbal is heard yelling at the 46-year-old in Spanish and then switching to English apparently trying to make sure the victim understood him.
Gaitan continues to be dragged towards the boat through the rope tied to the lifesaver which the fishers had previously thrown towards her.
Visbal is then seen struggling to lift the woman into the boat who has remained unresponsive but moves her torso just enough to help get her body over the edge and safely onto the boat.
The fisher then tries to have a conversation with her and give her water but the victim, who is visually upset, begins to cry and remains in an altered state as the video comes to an end.
According to reports the woman was floating in the water for about eight hours and was taken to a hospital where she arrived in a state of shock.
Once safe in hospital, Gaitan said she regretted her decision to leap into the sea, adding that God had saved her from drowning during the eight-hour ordeal.
‘I was born again, thank God. If I had had an opportunity or a help, I would not make that decision. Now I am very grateful because God gave me a new opportunity to move forward,’ she said.
Gaitan said her ex-husband ‘violently beat’ her even during her two pregnancies.
‘The abuse began in the first pregnancy, he beat me, he violently abused me,’ she told RCNRadio.
‘In the second pregnancy the abuse continued and I could not get away from him because the girls were small.
‘Many times I reported him but the police took him for 24 hours and when he was in the house again, the assaults returned.’
In a separate interview with DiarioLaLibertad, Gaitan said that she was locked inside the home she shared with her then husband and was unable to use the bathroom and forced to use the garden as her toilet.
She told RCN that during her 20-year relationship she was repeatedly ‘violated’ by her ex-partner, with him ‘breaking her face’ and trying to kill her in September 2018.
After the abuse two years ago she escaped and wandered the streets for six months before taking refuge at a woman’s shelter in the hope of keeping her ex-husband away from her.
Despite having found shelter from her husband, the abuse didn’t end and she was bullied and mistreated at the Camino de Fe rescue centre, she said.
She told LaLibertad that women in the shelter turned off her water while she was trying to shower and put soapy water into juice that they offered her. She said that she didn’t harm anyone or do anything do deserve the treatment she experienced.
The Friday before her suicide attempt, Gaitan said the protection measures ended because he had moved states. The police then moved her out of the shelter.
After being thrown out of the home, she said she ‘did not want to continue with my life.’
‘A lady lent me for the tickets and I took a bus directly to the sea’, she told RCN.
‘I wanted to end everything, I had no help from anyone, not even from my family, because this man kept me away from my social circle, that’s why I didn’t want to continue living.’
Gaitan said that her last memory before being rescued was ‘being on the seashore’ in ‘solitude’ when she decided to jump into the sea.
The circumstances surrounding the bizarre incident remain unclear especially after the local media tracked down the woman’s daughter Alejandra Castiblanco who said she had not known about her mum’s whereabouts for the past two years.
She said suggestions that her mother had been suicidal over a broken relationship or because of an attack by a former lover were fake news.
Castiblanco and her sister are currently raising money to transport their mum to the capital city of Bogota where they live and hope their mum will be ‘taken care of by family’.
Categorised in: Bizarre
This post was written by Nadia Vella