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Man spends 24 hours in ocean before ‘miracle’ rescue

A New Zealand fisherman has been rescued in what police described as “an absolute miracle” after spending nearly 24 hours in the ocean before using the sun’s reflection off his watch to attract attention.

At one stage during his ordeal a shark swam close to the fisherman to “have a sniff”, police sergeant Will Hamilton said.

The man was on a solo fishing trip when he fell overboard after hooking a marlin off the Coromandel Peninsula on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island yesterday.

He was dragged away by currents and unable to get back to his boat, Sgt Hamilton said.

“He endured a cold night in the ocean, too exhausted to keep swimming. During his time in the water, even a shark came to have a sniff, before leaving,” he said.

This afternoon, three men fishing in the region noticed an unusual reflection in the water.

“They decided to investigate and discovered a fellow fisherman, desperately trying to get their attention using the reflection of the sun on his watch,” Sgt Hamilton said.

“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.”

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