Amnesiac Swimmer

Mystery of Italian Who Thought He
Was Greek Is (Only Partially) Solved

When the Dubai police rescued a man who was swimming far off shore, last August, most people thought it was the happy ending for a story that could have gone terribly wrong. And that would be the end of it. Well, they would be terribly wrong, themselves.
The man, who identified himself as “Greek footballer” Andreas Kostantinidis, seemed otherwise utterly confused and could not remember anything else about himself. When authorities realized that the U.K.-born Kostantinidis is not a footballer but a singer-songwriter, they decided that the rescued swimmer’s had left something else in the waters off the famed Arab Emirate.
He was taken to the Amal (which means hope in Arabic) Psychiatric Hospital, where he spent months undergoing psychological evaluations to determine his true identity. Doctors were puzzled because he really believed he was Kostantinidis. Whenever asked, he’d insist: “I would not forget my country: It is in my heart, just like my name.”
The mystery began to unravel, after almost a year, when police found a copy of his passport in the guest records of a hotel in Dubai’s Al Ghurai touristic resort, after partial memories finally came back to him. It said he is Andrea Pecora, a 31-year old Italian citizen, not the 25-year old international heartthrob.
“When we told him some names from his family he went quiet and started thinking. You could tell they meant something to him, but he could still not locate them,” one of the Dubai investigators said. They then contacted his
Greek-origin mother, who thought her frequent-traveler son was in Africa.
Pecora is heading to Italy to recover. Among the questions left unanswered, is why he was so fixated on Kostantinidis, whom he never met and, as far as the international media is concerned, has declined to comment on the matter. And also, whatever the hell he was doing swimming so far off the coast?

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