Jeans save German sailor who went overboard in New Zealand

Mr Arne Murke transformed his jeans into a life-saving buoyancy aide using a technique employed by Navy Seals.
Mr Arne Murke transformed his jeans into a life-saving buoyancy aide using a technique employed by Navy Seals.PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM FACEBOOK/LOWE CORPORATION RESCUE HELICOPTER SERVICE

WELLINGTON (DPA) - A German tourist says he owes his life to his jeans after he managed to turn the pair of trousers into a makeshift life jacket while lost at sea for over three hours in rough seas off New Zealand's coast.

Arne Murke from northern Germany, who had set out with his brother to sail a 12m yacht from Auckland to Brazil, was knocked overboard just wearing a T-shirt and jeans on Wednesday ( March 6), the Herald on Sunday reported.

His brother raised an alarm after he couldn't reach him in the 3m swell and attempts to throw the 30-year-old a life jacket failed.

"Luckily, I knew the trick with the jeans. Without the jeans I wouldn't be here today, they were really the thing that saved me," he told the newspaper.

He transformed his jeans into a life-saving buoyancy aide using a technique employed by Navy Seals.

"I took a deep breath, took out my jeans, made knots at the end of the legs and inflated the jeans; pull it over water and get air inside and then push it under water - I had like an improvised life vest," he said.

After about three and a half hours in the water, Murke was spotted by a rescue helicopter.

"Life jackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water," Chris Henshaw from the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ said in a statement.

"It was fortunate the yacht had both a VHF radio and emergency beacons to raise the alert," he added.

"Without appropriate communications devices and beacons it may have turned out differently," Henshaw said.