Alain Bombard dies at 80 - proved survival at sea without supplies

Alain Bombard dies at 80 - proved survival at sea without supplies

Posted: Jul 22, 2005 02:07 am EDT

An e-mail reached ExWeb from the community regarding Doctor Alain Bombard, who died in France July 19, at age 80.
"I'm not sure that he is very famous outside of France," writes the contributor: "Yet in 1952, he proved that you can survive 53 days on the ocean in a life raft without any fresh water or food."

How much salt water can you drink?

"Born in 1924, Alain became a doctor In 1949 in the hospital of Boulogne sur mer, close to the ocean, and began to theoretically study, how to increase the probability of survival of a man lost at sea. He did a lot of studies to determine what quantity of fresh water you can get from a fish, from the rain, how much salt water you can drink, etc, etc."

"He went without any water, just a few basic tools"

"After all these studies, he decided to test his theory on a Zodiac inflatable boat and in 1952 to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Island to the West Indies. He went without any water, just a few basic tools like a net to catch plankton, harpoons to fish, a few books, medical material to study his health, and a sextant."

"He named his boat 'l'hérétique' (the heretic) because a lot of people considered him a lunatic." (Ed note: Bombard was written off in France as 'Docteur Fou.')

The total trip was 4400km and took 64 days

"Alain left the Canary Islands on October 19, and reached the West Indies December 23. After 53 days of travel, he encountered a ship. The crew offered him a meal and proposed to bring him to some islands but Bombard decided to continue alone and he reached Barbados on December 23, 1952. The total trip was 4400km and took 64 days."

"Afterwards he wrote the book 'Naufragé Volontaire' (I think the English title is the Bombard story). Since his trip, Zodiac is still producing a class of safety inflatable boats - called Bombard."

Alain's theory was that the human system can absorb sea water provided it's drunk in small quantities and taken continuously. Plankton is rich in vitamin C and, filtered from the sea with a special net, it contains all the nutrients required. Bombard drank rainwater and up to a pint-and-a-half of sea water a day on his trip.




#Oceans

Doctor Alain Bombard, died in France two days ago, at age 80. "I'm not sure that he is very famous outside of France," writes the ExWeb contributor: "Yet in 1952, he proved that you can survive 53 days on the ocean in a life raft without any fresh water or food." Image courtesy in part of Wanadoo.Fr (click to enlarge).