Man survives by ‘clinging to sea rubbish’ for 14 hours in the Pacific Ocean

NDTV – A sailor who fell into the Pacific Ocean without a life jacket survived by clinging to a “piece of sea rubbish” for hours before he was rescued. Vidam Perevertilov spent 14 hours in the cold water after he fell off the cargo ship Silver Supporter as the vessel made its routine supply run between New Zealand’s Tauranga port and Pitcairn Island, reports BBC. The incident occurred at about 4am on February 16.

After falling into the ocean, the 52-year-old spotted a small black dot in the horizon several kilometres away and began swimming towards it.

“He could see a black dot in the horizon still several kilometres away,” his son Marat told news website Stuff from Lithuania.

Perevertilov managed to reach the “black dot”, which turned out to be a fishing buoy, and held onto it. “It was not anchored to anything or a boat, it was just a piece of sea rubbish,” said Marat of the fishing buoy.

It took six hours for the ship’s crew to notice that their chief engineer was missing. The captain turned the ship around and radioed for emergency upon realising that Perevertilov was not on board.

“What happened next was nearly inexplicable,” Marat said. “The Silver Supporter was running search patterns and one of the passengers said he had heard a weak, human shout on the starboard side of the ship.” British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke, who also acts as Governor of Pitcairn Islands, told New Zealand Herald that rescuers were relieved at the happy ending.