What Happened to Jean-Jacques Savin? 75-Year-Old French Explorer Disappears Amid Solo Trip Across Atlantic

The 75-year-old explorer as photographed on his boat, before he set sail on Jan. 1.
The 75-year-old explorer as photographed on his boat, before he set sail on Jan. 1.Facebook

Jean-Jacques Savin's team originally said his body has been recovered, but Portuguese authorities said "there has been some confusion," and his daughter later confirmed that his body has not been found.

What happened to 75-year-old Jean-Jacques Savin? The French adventurer, who intended to row across the Atlantic Ocean singlehandedly, is believed to have died somewhere in his travels, but no one seems to know where or what has happened to his body.

His team said over the weekend that Savin’s body was discovered inside the cabin of his boat after he had activated two distress beacons Thursday night into Friday morning.

However, Portugal’s maritime authority clarified in an interview with Agence France-Presse that “there has been some confusion that we are currently trying to clear up,” according to CBS News.

Savin’s daughter Manon Savin later confirmed on Facebook that his body was not discovered in the boat, and was never recovered. “We have no official confirmation from Portuguese maritime authorities,” she wrote in a post.

Portuguese authorities launched a search and rescue operation late Thursday, they said in a press release, according to the Washington Post.

The search and rescue crew spotted the boat, L’Audacieux, or "the Audacious" in English, and saw a man aboard, but did not find Savin when they approached, the Post reported. A merchant ship found a waterproof bag with Savin’s identification documents, according to the outlet.

The search was called off Saturday and a warning was issued to alert nearby ships of the possibility of spotting a man, the Post reported.

Savin had taken off on his trip to row across the Atlantic on his own on Jan. 1, taking off from Portugal’s southern tip. He would have become the oldest person in the world to accomplish this feat had he been successful.

He had been updating his followers on his travels, posting on Facebook last week that he had run into some technical problems, but said he was safe and on his way to the Azores. There, he wrote, he would be able to fix his equipment if necessary. “Don’t worry, I am not in danger,” he wrote.

Savin also mentioned strong winds in his final post.

Savin had successfully crossed the Atlantic once in 2019, and celebrated his 75th birthday shortly after taking off on this trip.

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