An unemployed Senegalese man who was rescued by the Spanish coastguard after making a risky journey from Morocco eight years ago on a packed wooden boat won 400,000 euros ($437,000) in Spain’s annual Christmas lottery, local media reported Wednesday.
The man, identified only by his first name Ngame, was one of the holders of one of the 1,600 tickets with the winning number in the draw draw.
He made an illegal entry into Europe with his wife.
“I just can’t believe this, I can tell you that on some days we do not have five euros between the two of us,” he told the newspaper which published a photo of Ngame holding his winning ticket.
Ngame and his wife arrived eight years ago in the resort island of Tenerife, a part of Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. They were taken there after being rescued by Spain’s coast guard when the boat they were travelling in ran into trouble.
“There were 65 people on that boat. I want to give thanks to Spaniards and the Spanish government for rescuing me when I was in the sea,” he told the newspaper.