A New Zealand man survived a close encounter with a shark after falling from a fishing boat and surviving for about 24 hours, authorities said. The man was rescued by fishermen from another boat who noticed the sunlight reflecting off his watch, police said.
The man has not been identified, but Whangamata Police Sergeant Will Hamilton A Press release The fisherman went fishing alone on 2nd January. The man was in a 40-foot boat and planned to return on January 3, but near the Alderman Islands off the north coast of New Zealand, he hooked a large fish. and fell overboard.
The man tried to grab hold of his boat, but it “bent further out of reach,” Hamilton said. The man then tried to swim to the Alderman Islands, but the currents dragged him away.
The news release says the man spent the night in the ocean and was no longer able to swim. Hamilton said that while he was in the water, a shark even swam up to “sniff” him, but left him alone.
The next day, around 2pm local time, three fishermen in a boat near an island noticed “an unusual reflection in the water”. As they watched, they saw the man “desperately trying to get their attention by using the reflection of the sun on his watch.”
The three fishermen rescued the man and brought him to Vangamata Marina and reported the incident to the police. They were greeted by emergency responders at the marina. The man was “hypothermic and exhausted” when he returned to dry land, the news release said. No other information about his condition is available.
The man's boat has not yet been recovered, but police and the Rescue Coordination Center shared information about the vessel and asked others at sea to report sightings of empty boats.
“It is an absolute miracle that the fisherman is still alive after the ordeal. Without the quick actions of the three men who rescued him, it would certainly have had a tragic outcome,” said Hamilton. “The boats did an absolutely stellar job and without a doubt saved this man's life. … Few stories wrap up this story, and we can't thank the eagle-eyed trio of police enough. Normal.”