Update 3: Missing fisherman found alive
Video: AFM Press Office, Sgt Pepe Airwing Rescuer
The Zabbar fisherman who was found alive today after missing at sea since Wednesday has spoken to his wife.
"He is tired after two days out at sea on his own but happy to be reunited with his family," his nephew told timesofmalta.com.
Although he showed signs of fatigue and exhaustion, his condition is not serious, the family said.
A father of three and grandfather of four, Mario Axiaq, 58, was hoisted onto an Italian Military Mission helicopter at about noon. He was spotted at around 11 am some 45 nautical miles north east of Malta by an AFM helicopter that was being operated by a joint Italian-Maltese crew.
The AFM had initially instructed two other vessels in the area to investigate reports of the missing boat. As a result, the Panama registered vessel Ramah informed the army that a man found on board a boat was the Maltese fisherman they were looking for and that he was alive and well.
They took him on their vessel from where he was then hoisted to the helicopter.
On arrival at the helipad at St Luke's Hospital, Mr Axiaq was put onto a stretcher and into an ambulance for transfer to Mater Dei, where his family, including his 10 siblings, were waiting.
Mr Axiaq, who is a butcher, sailed out in his 13-foot boat at 5am from St Thomas Bay on Wednesday morning. The family raised the alarm at about 6pm when he failed to turn up.
The Armed Forces of Malta immediately started a search, which was suspended during the night and restarted at sunrise.