Alain Bombard remarked that shipwrecked men

CBSE Board Class 12 English Un-Solved Passages

Chapter – 3  Reading Comprehension III (Literary Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

1. In 1951, a young French doctor, Alain Bombard remarked that shipwrecked men who found themselves afloat at sea without food or fresh water could remain alive for a long time. They could live on the sea and its contents by eating raw fish and its juice. Planktons could prevent seurvy by providing vitamin C.

2. Dr. Bombard decided to prove that he was right. He planned to put to sea in an air-filled rubber dinghy with a three-foot-square sail. This was the kind of raft on which a man might really find himself alone on the ocean after a shipwreck. The journey started from Las Palmas on a little raft named ’17 Heretique’ on October 18.

3. No sooner had he done so than he ran into trouble. First, a wave swept over the raft. The next day the wind rose his sail. For the first two to three days he had not luck in catching fish and had nothing to drink but sea-water. As he became more hungry, he also became more determined to succeed.

4. He had with him some fishing equipment in a sealed tin. But he wanted to avoid using it. His idea was to exist like a shipwrecked sailor. He bent the point of his knife against an oar and then tied it to the end of the oar. He tried to catch a fish but could not. At last, he caught a dorado and ate it.

5. After these first few days he was never without a supply of fish. Flying-fish were the main source of his supply. Once he caught a sea-bird and thought its flesh would be a pleasant change, but he found that it tasted almost like fish.

6. A terrifying visitor arrived one day. This was a huge and unfriendly fish. It followed the raft for twelve hours and sometimes bumped against it. If it had really attacked the rubber raft with its vicious sword, it could have cut it to pieces very quickly and that would have been the end of the experiment. Sharks also followed his raft.

7. The most frightened of all Bombard’s experiences on the long Atlantic journey was not due to swordfish or sharks. One day he accidentally knocked his air-filled cushion overboard and saw it floating out a hundred yards behind the raft. He swam to it but when he started to swim back he was horrified to see that the raft was moving faster than him. He put all his strength but was unsuccessful. He saw himself drowning trying to rescue a cushion. So, only a miracle could save him and a double miracle needed if he had been attacked at that time by a shark. It happened, the anchor fell free and he pulled

Source: Adapted from ‘G.F. Lamb’

A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) Shipwrecked persons could remain alive without food or fresh water by:

(a) eating sea birds and their juice.

(b) eating eggs of sea-animals.

(c) eating raw fish and its juice.

(d) eating canned food and rainwater.

(ii) Scarvy could be prevented by planktons because:

(a) they check itching.

(b) they provide vitamin C.

(b) they help blood to flow.

(d) they provide essential minerals.

(iii) The noun form of the word, ‘succeed in para-3 in:

(a) successful

(b) success

(c) successive

(d) successfully

(iv) Dr Bombard would have drowned because:

(a) a huge and unfriendly fish followed the raft for twelve hours.

(b) swordfish bumped against his raft.

(c) sharks followed his raft.

(d) he was trying to rescue his air-filled cushion from sea water.

(v) The word ‘flesh’ in para 5 means:

(a) the skin of the human body

(b) the soft part of fruit and vegetables

(c) the soft substance between the skin and bones of animal or human bodies

(d) the human body when considering its physical needs

B. Answer the following questions briefly:

(i) Why did Dr. Bombard want to avoid using the sealed fishing equipment?

(ii) Why did Dr. Bombard bend his knife and tied it to the end of the oar?

(iii) How would Dr. Bombard have drowned?

(iv) How could the sharks and sword fish prove dangerous to Dr. Bombard’s experiment?

(v) What was the most frightening of Dr. Bombard’s experiments?

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