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Coastguard saved us just in time say 11-hour sea ordeal survivors.

FIVE exhausted survivors of a terrifying 11-hour sea ordeal thanked the Coastguard yesterday for saving them just when they were about to give in.

"In another hour, we would probably have been unconscious, as we were dehydrated and tired after swimming for hours," Mohammed Mattar, 23, told the GDN after reaching Bahrain safely.

Mr Mohammed, his cousin Salman, 23, and friends - Mohammed bin Daina, 17, Yaqoob Al Miftah, 19, and Ahmed Sanad, 26, - hung on to a stick after their boat capsized about 20km off the Qatari coast during a pearl-diving trip on Tuesday afternoon.

"We were all terrified and exhausted after almost 11 hours in the chilly waters," Mr Mohammed said.

"We sang songs to keep up our spirits."

He said they found their boat taking on water after surfacing from a dive in the afternoon. Soon afterwards, it capsized.

"We saw a stick and an ice box floating near the capsized boat.

"Luckily, we managed to wedge the stick into the handle of the ice box and then we held on to it," Mr Mohammed said.

He said they also found a torchlight in their bag - that was floating nearby - and used it in an attempt to attract attention.

"We searched for help for the first eight hours but were really tired and frustrated after that."

He said they then kept slipping in and out of unconsciousness.

"The Coastguards rescued us after they saw the light of the torch we were waving at them."

He said Mr Daina's brother alerted the Coastguards after he could not contact them on the phone.

Mr Mohammed said their families were worried when they did not return as per their plan.

"They all came to meet us after we were rescued and brought back."

The men were taken to hospital for a check-up and later allowed to go home.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jul 11, 2013
Words:322
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