Moment Australian castaway is rescued with his dog off Mexican coast

Extraordinary moment Australian castaway’s voice cracks with emotion and his dog Bella’s tail wags as rescuers reach his boat off Mexican coast – before they ask if he has drugs on board and order him to hand over his knife

  • Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, returned to shore in Mexico on Tuesday
  • A fishing boat rescued him and his dog after three months adrift in the Pacific

Extraordinary new footage has emerged showing an Australian castaway overcome with emotion as rescuers reached his stranded catamaran off the coast of Mexico.

Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, was seen caught in the moment of relief with his dog, Bella, wagging her tail as rescuers found them adrift in the Pacific on Monday.

The Australian set sail in April bound for tropical French Polynesia, but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the 3,700-mile journey.

Stranded aboard his boat with only his dog, Bella, for company, his voice cracks with emotion during his first interactions with human beings since his rescue.

As Mexican fishermen circle the forlorn catamaran on Monday, the captain is heard introducing himself and asking Shaddock if he is okay.

With a hand over his heart, Shaddock thanks the man identified as Andrés, but is promptly told: ‘We need to know if you have any drugs or weapons aboard.’

Nodding in understanding and then shaking his head, Shaddock replies, his voice cracking with emotion: ‘No, I have no drugs or weapons… you can check everything.’

Before his safe return to Manzanillo, Mexico on Tuesday, the fishermen asked him to hand over his knife and climbed aboard to ensure their safety.

Rescuers arrive at Shaddock’s disabled catamaran, where the sailor spent three months adrift after a storm disabled the vessel

The raw footage shows the moment a speedboat approached the catamaran off the coast of Mexico.

Shaddock’s vessel is seen bobbing up and down on the water with its captain motionless at the stern.

The rescuers circle the catamaran and close in on Shaddock, with Bella coming into view nearby.

His dog is seen wagging her tail as the boat approaches.

Shaddock stands with a hand over his heart and a knife holster around his neck as the boat closes in.

‘Hi sir, do you speak English,’ they ask.

Shaddock is seen happy, relieved, nodding along as they ask how he is.

The catamaran is covered in Shaddock’s survival gear and buckets.

He stands with palms open as he tells his rescuers he does not have any drugs or weapons aboard.

‘I’ve just got fishing gear, survival gear…’

His saviours then spot and ask for the knife around his neck, asking for it in its holster.

The interaction is stern and professional as they look to ensure their own safety.

Shaddock complies, handing over the knife and inviting the men aboard.

They tell him they would like to check for drugs and weapons, before asking his name.

Shaddock, seen confused and with a large beard, seems to understand the men are recording him as they interview him about where he is from and when he left Mexico.

He struggles to remember when he left Mexico, but tells them he sailed from La Paz before the camera cuts back to the men approaching the boat. 


Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, revealed he survived on ‘a lot of sushi’ after disembarking on Tuesday in the Mexican city of Manzanillo from the fishing boat that rescued him


Shaddock said he had been well-provisioned, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella survived on raw fish

Shaddock told reporters after his safe delivery to Manzanillo that he was ‘grateful’ to be alive.

He joked that he survived on ‘a lot of sushi’ but admitted he ‘didn’t think he’d make it’ after disembarking from the fishing boat that rescued him, the María Delia.

‘I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I tell ya,’ Shaddock, smiling, bearded and thin, said on the dock in the port city about 210 miles west of Mexico City.

‘To the captain and fishing company that saved my life, I’m just so grateful. I’m alive and I didn’t really think I’d make it,’ Shaddock said, adding that he and his ‘amazing’ dog Bella are both doing well.

He said the last time he saw land was in early May as he sailed out of the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific. There was a full moon.

Shaddock described himself as a quiet person who loves being alone on the ocean.

Asked why he had set out from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to cross the Pacific Ocean, Shaddock struggled to give an explanation.

‘I’m not sure I have the answer to that, but I very much enjoy sailing and I love the people of the sea,’ he said. 

‘It’s the people of the sea that make us all come together. The ocean is in us. We are the ocean.’

Shaddock said he had been well-provisioned, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella survived on raw fish.

‘It was a lot of chewing of ‘sushi’,’ he joked, and pointed out how ‘skinny’ he had become.

Shaddock recounted there were ‘many, many, many bad days’ at sea, but also good ones.

‘The energy, the fatigue is the hardest part,’ he said. He passed the time fixing things and stayed positive by going into the water to ‘just enjoy being in the water.’ 

‘I would try and find the happiness inside myself, and I found that a lot alone at sea. I would go in the water too, and just enjoy being in the water.’

Shaddock and his dog Bella are seen being rescued by the crew of a Mexican tuna vessel on Monday

Shaddock and his dog Bella are seen aboard the fishing boat that rescued them at sea 

Shaddock said the tuna boat became his land and that Bella was an immediate hit with the crew. The dog is seen playing on the deck after rescue

When the tuna boat’s helicopter spotted Shaddock´s catamaran about 1,200 miles from land, it was the first sign of humans he had seen in three months, Shaddock said. 

The pilot tossed him a drink and then flew away, returning later with a speed boat from the María Delia, he said.

Grupomar, which operates the fishing fleet, didn’t specify when the rescue occurred. 

But it said in a statement that Shaddock and his dog were in a ‘precarious’ state when found, lacking provisions and shelter, and that the tuna boat’s crew gave them medical attention, food and hydration.

Shaddock said the tuna boat became his land and that Bella was an immediate hit with the crew. He also explained how he and the dog met.

‘Bella sort of found me in the middle of Mexico. She’s Mexican,’ he said. 

‘She´s the spirit of the middle of the country and she wouldn´t let me go. 

‘I tried to find a home for her three times and she just kept following me onto the water. She´s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure.’

Australian sailor Tim Shaddock smiles after arriving at the port of Manzanillo on Tuesday

Shaddock smiles after receiving a temporary visa to regularise his situation in Mexico 

The crew of the Mexican tuna boat ‘Maria Delia’ pose for photos with Bella, the dog of Australian Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, both of whom they rescued at sea

A crew member from the fishing boat will adopt Bella from Shaddock on the condition that he will take good care of the dog

Perhaps for that reason, Bella did not leave the boat until Shaddock had driven away Tuesday. 

He had already chosen Genaro Rosales, a crew member from Mazatlan, to adopt her on the condition that he would take good care of the dog.

Shaddock said he’ll be going back to Australia soon and that he’s looking forward to seeing his family.

Antonio Suarez, Grupomar’s president, said this could be the María Delia´s final trip because he is modernizing the company´s fleet and the boat is its smallest and is more than 50 years old.

If so, it would be a ‘marvelous farewell, saving human lives,’ Suarez said.

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