SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A lost diver who was the subject of a U.S. Coast Guard search managed to swim 10 miles through heavy seas to safety, authorities said Thursday.
Marcos Calzada Colon said that at one point he followed a pod of whales because he thought they would protect him from sharks.
Colon was separated from his partner while diving for conch near the island of Culebra, off Puerto Rico's east coast, swam through heavy rain and rough waters before reaching his home island of Vieques, said Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.
Colon's partner reported him missing Tuesday afternoon and Coast Guard boats and a helicopter searched for the 40-year-old man until nightfall.
He said that when he got separated from his boat during the storm he ditched his diving weights and swam through the night.
"When I got to land, the first thing I said was: Thank you God," he said.