KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who swam seven hours to Puerto Rico after being knocked off his sailboat will soon head home to West Michigan.
David Thompson told 24 Hour News 8 he expects to be discharged from the hospital on Friday, nearly two weeks after the ordeal.
“It certainly makes you look at life differently when you come this close to dying,” the 68-year-old man said Wednesday. He spoke with 24 Hour News 8 over the phone from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from injuries related to the estimated four mile swim.
On March 13, Thompson was aboard his 49-foot sailboat off the northern coast of Puerto Rico, with a course set for Florida. He said the weather had been pretty nasty for four or five days.
“The waves were running from 10 to maybe 18 feet, so it was a pretty nasty few days,” Thompson elaborated.
As Thompson was packing up the sails at the back of the boat, one of those waves caught him.
“It knocked me over the back end of the boat and down into the water,” he said.
Thompson was still wearing a life vest that was tethered to the boat.
Using the tether, Thompson managed to pull himself to the back of the boat, where he began his climb back aboard.