Fisherman Survives After Nearly 24 Hours Adrift in the Ocean

Fisherman Survives After Nearly 24 Hours Adrift in the Ocean

( – In a story straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster script, a man survived nearly 24 hours in the South Pacific waters, several nautical miles from shore. The man had even had a close encounter with potentially deadly marine life before being rescued by some fishermen.

On January 4, New Zealand-based open-source intelligence news site Foreign Affairs published a brief press release discussing the incident. The statement cited Whangamatā Police Department (WPD) Sgt. Will Hamilton as its source.

Hamilton explained that the man set sail on a fishing trip by himself on January 2 and planned on returning the following day. However, the unnamed man hooked a large fish and fell overboard while attempting to land it in his 40-foot boat near the Alderman Islands, about 30 nautical miles from New Zealand’s North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui). The man told Hamilton he thought the fish was a marlin, a big-game fishing species related to swordfish.

Hamilton said the man attempted to catch up to his boat, but it drifted away too quickly. He also tried to swim to the Alderman Islands. However, the water currents dragged him in the opposite direction.

The man told Hamilton he spent the night treading water since he was too tired to continue swimming. He recounted that at one point, a curious shark came by to “have a sniff” of him before swimming away.

Miraculously, three fishermen on a boat near an adjoining island noticed an odd reflection on the water at about 2 p.m. on January 3. They navigated their vessel closer to investigate the unusual phenomenon and rescued him from the water. As it turned out, the man had used his watch to cause the reflection.

The fisherman, identified as James, Tyler, and Mike, radioed ahead before setting a course for the main marina at Whangamatā. A crew from St. John’s Ambulance Service transported the man to Whangamatā Medical Centre, where he received treatment for hypothermia and exhaustion.

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