01-09-2009, 02:13 AM #1
Jet skier saved after 24 hours at sea
Jet skier survives 24 hours at sea
4:00AM Sunday Jan 04, 2009
A man spent 24 hours adrift on a broken-down jet ski in stormy seas, before being miraculously rescued 13km off the Canterbury coast.
The man had not been reported missing, and it appears he was found purely by chance - a Russian trawler plucked him to safety after spotting him about 7pm last night.
Police Inspector Warren Kemp last night described the man's survival, and luck, as the "story of the year".
The man had been at sea for 24 hours but no one knew he was missing, said Kemp.
Nor'west gales would have blown him offshore on Friday night, before southerlies battered him yesterday morning.
Kemp said the man was settling down for another night at sea when the Russian trawler Ivan Golubets came into sight.
On board was a Ministry of Fisheries observer, who alerted the Waimakariri-Ashley Coastguard by cellphone.
The jetskier, whose name had not been released, was plucked aboard the trawler at 7.15pm and given a shower and warm clothes. He was transferred to a Coastguard vessel half an hour later and treated by a paramedic but, apart from being cold, it is not believed he was hurt.
Kemp said the man's wetsuit was his "salvation".
Jetskier Gareth Hall had a similar experience in the same area four years ago. He speculated that the jetskier had been at the Waimakariri rivermouth, a popular area for locals because of the high water caused by a sandbar. However, the area was also renowned for tricky winds, which can whip up seas and swamp a jet ski.
Hall's jet ski was swamped and became submerged after he tipped over. He clung to the jet ski for half an hour before it completely sunk.
Hall drifted 14km from the Waimakariri River to New Brighton before being rescued by the Waimakariri-Ashley Coastguard after four hours.
"Your whole life flashes before your eyes. It's a horrible, horrible, horrible thing to go through."
Hall has continued to jetski, but now avoids the Waimakariri rivermouth.
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