Japanese surfer saved after night adrift off Australia

The crew of Chinese club offering $139mfor Chelsea's Costa passing container ship MSC Damla throwing a lifebuoy to the surfer before pulling him aboard the vessel.
The crew of Chinese club offering $139mfor Chelsea's Costa passing container ship MSC Damla throwing a lifebuoy to the surfer before pulling him aboard the vessel. PHOTO: MSC DAMLA

SYDNEY • A Japanese man has been rescued after spending a night drifting on his surfboard off the east coast of Australia, a report said yesterday.

The 37-year-old told police that a current pulled him out to sea off Bulli Beach, 80km south of Sydney, early Thursday evening.

"He spent the night clinging to his surfboard and it is estimated he spent about 16 hours in the water," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said.

He told police the waves were too big for him and he could not paddle back to shore.

The crew of passing container ship MSC Damla spotted him sitting on his hired yellow board 6km offshore and pulled him aboard the vessel. Pictures posted on Facebook show him hanging onto a lifebuoy thrown from the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) vessel.

The crew gave him food and drink and warm clothing, and contacted the authorities.

"Our crew are always being observant of marine traffic, but it is exceptionally fortunate they were able to spot this man waving for help from his surfboard," MSC Australia managing director Kevin Clarke told Infomarine On-Line.

The unnamed man was in "remarkably good spirits", he said.

The surfer was taken to Wollongong Hospital and discharged on Friday afternoon in good health, ABC added.

"This incident is a reminder of the need to let people know your plans before setting out, as well as the importance of knowing local conditions," a spokesman from Surf Life Saving New South Wales said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 15, 2017, with the headline 'Japanese surfer saved after night adrift off Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe