A 65-year-old British tourist has been rescued after swimming about 500 metres in the Atlantic Ocean, following the cruise ship she believed was carrying her husband.

Susan Brown was discovered by fishermen off Portugal's Madeira Islands around midnight on Saturday, according to the Guardian. She was shivering and clinging to her handbag, the head of the Funchal Port authority, Felix Marques, told The Associated Press. Marques said fishermen were alerted by her cries for help.

Brown told police her husband had purchased tickets to fly back to England from Madeira instead of returning to their cruise ship, the Marco Polo in an attempt to cut their vacation short, the Guardian reported.

Brown said she decided to swim after the ship after she lost contact with her husband at the island's airport and thought he changed his mind about flying back early.

Several reports, such as one in the Independent, said Brown's husband has flown back to England.

Brown was treated for advanced stages of hypothermia and remained at a psychiatric unit at the Nelio Mendonca Hospital in Funchal on March 28, according to The Associated Press.

Corrections

  • Susan Brown was treated for advanced stages of hypothermia. This story originally said she was treated for hyperthermia.
    Mar 29, 2016 6:21 PM ET
With files from The Associated Press