Body found in hunt for missing transatlantic rower

French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, had been missing since the early hours of Friday

Savin, a former paratrooper and avid triathlete, had been attempting to row solo across the Atlantic but had not been heard from since the early hours of Friday morning after he issued two distress beacons and told his support team that he was in "great difficulty".

Writing on social media, his daughter said that an emergency rescue operation was immediately launched with the joint coordination of the French, Portuguese and US rescue services.

Savin had been attempting to row across the Atlantic ocean from south Portugal to the Caribbean, beginning his epic journey on January 1. 

"We're very worried," his team told AFP after receiving his distress signal. "We haven't heard from him since 00:34 yesterday (Friday) morning."

However, according to a further update from AFP on Saturday Savin's body has been located.

He has last been heard from near to the northwest coast of Africa after having been forced to extend his predicted journey by around 550 miles to avoid hazardous weather conditions.

Savin reported on Wednesday that he was experiencing "strong swell and wind" and also told his support team that he had been forced to used a hand-operated water desalinator, which separates water molecules from seawater, instead of an electric equivalent.

"It's costing me physical energy," he noted on Facebook. "Be assured, I am not in danger".

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His 8-meter long rowboat was packed with more than 600lbs of equipment and supplies, and had a cabin for him to shelter from the elements when required.

Savin celebrated his 75th birthday during his voyage, telling reporters before he departed Portugal that he planned to note the occasion with a meal of champagne and foie gras.

"I am off on holiday to the open sea," he wrote before the voyage, adding that the idea came to him as a way to "laugh at old age".

"I will row eight hours a day and when the wind blows too hard, I'll close myself in."

In 2019 Savin, then aged 72, successfully completed another voyage across the Atlantic in a barrel-shaped vessel which used ocean currents as a method of propulsion. 

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