A sailor was rescued after spending 14 hours clinging to an abandoned fishing buoy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Vidam Perevertilov, an engineer working on a supply ship sailing between New Zealand's Tauranga port and the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, started feeling lightheaded and dizzy near the end of his night shift in the engine room.
He went up to the deck to get some fresh air when he apparently fainted and fell into the water. He was not wearing a lifejacket at the time.
"He doesn't remember falling overboard. He may have fainted," Perevetilov's son Marat told New Zealand news outlet Stuff.
Perevertilov drifted in the darkness for hours until the sun started to come up. In the distance, he saw a black dot and swam towards it.
"His will to survive was strong, but he told me until the sun came up he was struggling to stay afloat," Marat said. "I probably would have drowned straight away, but he always kept himself fit and healthy, and that's why I think he could survive."
As Perevertilov got closer to the dot, he realized it was an old fishing buoy. He grabbed the buoy and held on for his life. He struggled to keep his grip as the scorching hot sun left him parched and sunburned.
It took six hours for the crew of his ship, the Silver Supporter, to notice he was missing. They began retracing their route in a desperate attempt to find the 52-year-old.
Miraculously, Perevertilov saw the ship on the horizon and began to scream for help.
"What happened next was nearly inexplicable," Marat explained. "The Silver Supporter was running search patterns, and one of the passengers said he had heard a weak, human shout on the starboard side of the ship."
The crew pulled Perevertilov back to safety. Despite being extremely dehydrated and exhausted, he was otherwise unhurt during his 14 hours adrift at sea.
"We all feared for the worst, given the sheer scale of the Pacific Ocean and its strong currents," Pitcairn Island Governor Laura Clarke told the New Zealand Herald. "So the fact that the Silver Supporter found him, and he survived is just amazing: a story of survival that even Captain Bligh … would have applauded."
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