Chris Lange, FISM News
A 69-year-old Japanese man survived 22 hours afloat in open waters before he was finally spotted by the Coast Guard in what officials are calling a “miracle” rescue.
According to Reuters, the man, whose name has not been released, had been working alone on a port construction project near the resort island of Yakushima when his 5-ton boat overturned. The man’s employer notified the Japan Coast Guard that he was in danger, but rescuers struggled to locate him in the choppy waters. He was finally spotted a day later near the Onoaida Port, some 16 miles from where his vessel originally capsized.
Dramatic video footage shows Coast Guard members yelling “We are coming! Just a little bit longer! Hold on tight!” to the man they found propped up against the boat’s rudder beneath a darkening sky and strong winds signaling an imminent storm. A Guard member can be seen leaping into the choppy waters and scrambling over the slippery, upturned hull of the No. 5 Takamura to reach the man’s side. Wrapped in a tarpaulin and clearly exhausted, the 69-year-old was able to respond only in monosyllables. The remaining crew of the Coast Guard vessel managed to reel the capsized boat toward them using a rope, eventually pulling the man onboard to safety.
The Coast Guard reported that the man was treated for only a minor ankle injury at a nearby hospital.