A man who spent nearly 24 hours at sea in New Zealand alerted his rescuers by using his watch to reflect the sun.
Police said it was an “absolute miracle” the man – who has not been named – is alive after he fell overboard from his 40-foot (12-metre) boat while on a solo fishing trip on Tuesday.
He said the boat overturned after he hooked a suspected marlin fish.
The man endured a cold night in the ocean, and even came face to face with a shark who had come to “have a sniff”, police said.
He had attempted to swim 55km to the Alderman Islands off the northeast of New Zealand, but quickly became exhausted and kept getting dragged further away by currents.
The man was eventually rescued after three fishermen – named by police as Taylor, Mike and James – decided to investigate after noticing an unusual reflection on the water.
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They discovered it was the man desperately trying to get their attention using the reflection of the sun on his watch.
The man’s first words as he was rescued were: “Glad to see you”, one of the fishermen told the New Zealand Herald.
“It is an absolute miracle the fisherman is still alive after the ordeal. Without the quick actions of the three gentlemen that retrieved him, this certainly would have had a tragic outcome,” police said.
“The boaties did an absolute stellar job and without a doubt saved this man’s life.”
The man was swiftly taken to Whangamata Marina, where he was treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.
The location of his boat remains unknown, with others encouraged to report any potential sightings.
Both police and the man thanked the “eagle-eyed trio” after the rescue.