A sailor who fell off a cargo ship into the Pacific Ocean spent 14 hours in the waters by clinging on to ‘sea rubbish’ before being rescued.
Vidam Perevertilov, 52, swam towards a ‘black dot’ several kilometres away after falling into the sea without a life jacket.
The ‘black dot’ turned out to be a fishing buoy, which he held onto until his rescue.
Mr Perevertilov is the Lithuanian chief engineer of the Silver Supporter, which was making a supply run between New Zealand’s Tauranga port and the isolated British territory of Pitcairn.
Following a shift in the engine room pumping fuel, he had felt “hot and dizzy”, said Marat, his son. He then walked out onto the deck to recover at around 04:00 in the morning on 16 February, before falling.
Marat, who got details of his father’s survival tale via message chats, believes he may have fainted, as he does not remember going over.
Unaware that a man had fallen overboard, the ship sailed away.
After struggling to stay afloat until the sun rose, Mr Perevertilov noticed a black speck on the horizon and decided to swim towards it.
“It was not anchored to anything or a boat, it was just a piece of sea rubbish,” Marat said.
It took ship crew about six hours to notice that their engineer was missing, at which point the captain turned the ship around.
When Mr Perevertilov finally saw his ship in the horizon, he waved and called out. Remarkably, one of the ship’s passengers heard the “weak, human shout”.
A lookout spotted a raised hand later on, and eventually pulled the sailor to safety on board.