She had been adrift at sea for 8 hours and couldn't speak because of cold and weakness.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 14, 2021. It has since been updated.
Many times we come across things that startle us to the core and we cannot wrap our heads around what really happened. Two fishermen felt the same when they saw something floating in the ocean. What they thought to be a log was actually a woman.
The woman, identified as Angelica Gaitan, was found floating 1.24 miles away from the beach and was caught on camera by the fishermen. Shockingly, Angelica had been missing for two years with no contact with her family, reported The Mirror.
One of the fishermen, Rolando Visbal, called out to her in Spanish and then in English but she could barely speak because of the cold. In the video, he can be heard yelling at Angelica who is floating in the sea in a rubber ring with her eyes closed, almost unresponsive.
La Libertad, a local paper, reported that the fishermen were sure that it was a log and not a person that was floating until Angelica raised her hand and signaled for help. The video then shows how Rolando and his partner Gustavo pulled the 46-year-old woman towards the boat with a rope tied to the lifesaver that the fishermen had thrown towards her to save her from drowning.
Rolando struggled to lift the unresponsive Angelica into the boat by moving her torso just enough to pull her over the edge and into the vessel safely. The footage comes to an end after the woman starts crying when the fishermen try to communicate with her.
She was tended to by the locals before she was taken to the hospital. The Sun reported that after being rescued, her first words were, "I was born again, God did not want me to die." She was then reunited with the family who according to the local paper hadn't heard from her since 2018 after she left for Ecuador to stay with her brother.
After she felt better, the woman revealed the reason why she had disappeared for two years. Talking to RCN Radio, she said, "For 20 years I had a toxic relationship. The abuse began in the first pregnancy, he beat me, he violently abused me."
She continued, “In my second pregnancy the abuse continued and I could not get away from him because the girls were small. Many times I reported it but the police took him away for 24 hours and when he was in the house again, the assaults returned. The day I decided to leave the house was after a brutal assault. In September 2018 he broke my face and tried to kill me. Thank God I managed to escape.”
She then struggled to live in Barranquilla city for six months before she found shelter. But Angelica was forced out of there because her partner no longer lived in the city. Living through all the difficult circumstances pushed her into a deep depression.
"I did not want to continue with my life. A lady lent me money for the tickets and I took a bus directly to the sea," she revealed and continued, “I wanted to end everything, I had no help from anywhere 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."
Left alone with her dark thoughts and with no safe home, she found herself "in solitude" by the seashore and decided to end her life. "I let it take me and hoped that this nightmare would soon end," she said and added that she cannot recall anything else because she slipped into unconsciousness.
Showing gratitude to the Almighty, she said, "The man who rescued me in the middle of the sea told me that I was unconscious, floating. 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.”
Mystery as woman missing for 8HOURD-NOT-two years found alive in sea by startled fisherman— KoraJanetBs (@JanetKora) September 30, 2020
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. https://t.co/ITgEEQF7Xk
While La Libertad reported that the woman claimed that her family left her after she accused her partner of domestic abuse, local media found Angelica's daughter Alejandra Castiblanco who dismissed her mother's story.
She said that unlike Angelica's claims, her father has never been abusive and never lived in Barranquilla either. She added, "We don’t know who attacked her, or how she ended up in the sea." She also revealed that Anjelica had been suffering from heart problems for years and her mental health deteriorated after a heart attack.
Alejandra and her sister are trying to raise money so that they can take their mum, Angelica to Bogota, where they live in hopes that she will now be “taken care of by family”.
Cover image (Representational): Getty Images | Photo by Watsamon Tri-Yasakda / EyeEm