A 30-year-old man with psychiatric problems was prevented from committing suicide by drowning in a dramatic incident off Caleta de Vélez last month. The incident is reported to have started in a bar where his family told him that he would have to go into hospital in Málaga to receive treatment for his mental condition.

His brother and sister rang 112 to say that he had apparently suffered a psychotic break and gone into the sea. Local and National Police patrols attended the scene and asked first for the Coastguard to provide an inflatable zodiac boat, but learned that the nearest was four hours away. The officers then set about finding a craft from the marina at Caleta where an off-duty officer who was out jogging helped them locate a fishing boat and crew.

Meanwhile, a young man who was passing in his kayak came across the man swimming in the water about 800 metres from the coast, and stayed with him. As he tried to persuade the man to get into his craft, he acted as a reference point for the rescuers as they approached the scene.

When they arrived, the swimmer was brought onto the fishing boat, totally exhausted and weak with symptoms of fatigue. Once ashore he was taken by ambulance to hospital in Vélez-Málaga, accompanied at all times by National Police officers.