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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Lost Frenchmen ate jungle spiders
Frenchman Loic Pillois (right) in rescue helicopter
Loic Pillois (right) managed to reach the village of Saul
Two French hikers who got lost in thick jungle in French Guiana survived for seven weeks by consuming turtle meat, big hairy spiders and river water.

The men were rescued on Thursday, exhausted and dehydrated.

Loic Pillois and Guilhem Nayral disappeared on 14 February, having set off from the Grand Kanori rapids bound for the village of Saul.

Guilhem's brother Gilles said "they ate palm seeds, insects, mygales (big spiders) and two turtles" to survive.

Mr Pillois, 34, emerged at Saul at 1000 (1300 GMT) on Thursday and told the authorities that his friend Guilhem, 34, was about six hours' walk away to the south, the French news agency AFP reported.

Rescuers found him and brought him out by helicopter. One of them, gendarme Martin Andre, said Guilhem was "stretched out on the ground, completely exhausted, very thin, dehydrated".

French Guiana map
"When I took him in my arms, he burst into tears," he added.

Mr Pillois confirmed to the French broadcaster RFO Guyane that their jungle diet had included spiders. They had chopped down trees to make a fire.

According to Gilles Nayral, Guilhem had lost about 20kg and he had lost feeling in his tongue "because of the poison from a spider he had eaten without having cooked it enough".

About 40 police and soldiers had searched for the pair for three weeks, on land and by helicopter. The search was suspended on 26 March.

The hikers - who remained in hospital on Friday - had maps and compasses but no GPS navigation.

Regions and territories: French Guiana
13 Dec 06 |  Country profiles
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