French pay emotional farewell to ocean rescuers killed in storm

accreditation
(File photo, iStock)
(File photo, iStock)

Thousands of people packed a seafront promenade in western France on Monday to pay their respects to three ocean rescue volunteers killed in a storm last week.

The three local men died after their lifeboat capsized while they were coming to the assistance of a fisherman off the coast of Sables-d'Olonne, starting point for the round-the-world Golden Globe yacht race.

Four other rescuers managed to swim to safety.

The body of the fisherman, a retiree who was shrimping to boost his pension, has not been found.

President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday posthumously awarded the volunteers the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian honour.

The accident was the deadliest to hit the French ocean rescue service SNSM in over 30 years and plunged the sea-faring community into mourning.

A huge crowd took part in a silent march on Monday to the beach where the wrecked rescue boat was brought ashore. Many carried a single red or white rose which they planted in the sand.

A large group of SNSM volunteers, wearing trademark luminous orange jackets led the march and were applauded by residents for their service.

Sailors and fishermen were also out in force, with a flotilla of around 100 boats, backed by a naval vessel, firing flares and sounding their sirens.

Around 15 000 took part in the ceremony, according to local authorities.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, I believed it was authentic
7% - 227 votes
Yes, I didn't want to spend that much money on the original item
20% - 670 votes
No, I always shop at reputable stores
14% - 466 votes
No, I don't wear designer clothing
60% - 2018 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.92
-1.1%
Rand - Pound
20.40
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.48
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.83
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.2%
Gold
1,750.56
0.0%
Silver
22.43
0.0%
Palladium
1,974.50
0.0%
Platinum
987.00
0.0%
Brent-ruolie
78.09
+1.1%
Top 40
57,643
0.0%
All Share
64,049
0.0%
Resource 10
57,254
0.0%
Industrial 25
82,879
0.0%
Financial 15
14,316
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE