A GIRL was swept far out to sea on her paddleboard by a freak wind and was stranded alone for 22 hours.
Erica Vicente, 17, was found adrift 28 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean last week after clinging onto her board for dear life in a gruelling experience of survival.
Erica had been practicing her paddle board skills when she was suddenly swept out to sea by sudden strong winds near Monte Gordo in Portugal's Algarve region.
A huge search and rescue operation was launched to find the teenager, however they had no luck.
The terrified 17-year-old was only saved when the crew of a Dutch cargo ship – the MSC Reef – spotted her as they sailed towards Morocco.
The crew pulled her aboard the freighter on 15th April at 5.30pm, almost an entire day after she had disappeared and cheated death.
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The startling footage captures the moment they carry out the technical operation to rescue her and skilfully carry her to safety.
They also managed to communicate with Erica in English to get her details and inform authorities.
She is now recovering at the Faro Hospital in the Algarve capital Faro.
Clinic boss Horacio Guerreiro said: "She is fine, stable, she is not dehydrated."
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He explained that Erica – from Setubal, in Portugal, – was drowsy but had suffered no serious injuries and was on the path to making a full recovery.
Guerreiro said: "She is fine, she is accompanied by her mother. I don't know when she can be discharged, but maybe in 24 or 48 hours if all goes well.
"At this stage, the sensitive thing is to see if her kidney function can be maintained, because with hydration there can be problems in terms of brain function, because sometimes if you force the intake of liquids there may be situations of cerebral oedema, but we are not predicting that."
He added: "It's a short recovery period for someone who has been under extreme stress. She is being monitored, she is accompanied by her mother, and she is fine, and very calm.
"I congratulated her on her resistance, she is not very communicative. But she is a tough one.
"With so much time at sea, it's surprising for everyone, this girl is a hero without a doubt."
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