New Zealand: Man’s watch reflection leads to rescue after day in ocean

The Alderman Islands
Image caption,The man attempted to swim to the Alderman Islands off the North Island’s east coast

By Kathryn Armstrong

BBC News

A man who spent nearly 24 hours in the sea off the coast of New Zealand has been rescued after using the reflection from his watch to signal for help.

The man, who has not been named, got into trouble when he fell overboard from his 40-foot (12-metre) boat while on a solo fishing trip on Tuesday.

He said a shark had come to “have a sniff” of him at one point but eventually left him alone.

The angler was eventually rescued by a group of fishermen.

According to New Zealand police, he had attempted to swim to the Alderman Islands, about 55km (34 miles) off the east coast of the North Island after falling overboard but was dragged away by the currents.

“He endured a cold night in the ocean, too exhausted to keep swimming,” police said in a statement.

The three fishermen who rescued the man on Wednesday afternoon set out to investigate after spotting the reflection from his watch on the water from their boat.

He was taken to the nearby town of Whangamatā on the Coromandel Peninsula, where he was treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.

The whereabouts of his boat are unknown and efforts are being made to find it.

“It’s an absolute miracle the fisherman is still alive after the ordeal,” said police.

“Without the quick actions of the three gentlemen that retrieved him, this certainly would have had a tragic outcome.

“The boaties did an absolute stellar job and without a doubt saved this man’s life.”

The police added that the man wanted to thank the fishermen named as Mike, Tyler and James – for rescuing him, along with all the emergency services.

A map of New Zealand's North Island

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