'He looked more dead than alive': Ship captain who rescued Singaporean drifting at sea for 4 days

Captain Cornelis Plugge (left) and First Officer Srdan Bazdan of the Diogo Cao rescued Mr John Low, who had been drifting in the ocean for four days.
Captain Cornelis Plugge (left) and First Officer Srdan Bazdan of the Diogo Cao rescued Mr John Low, who had been drifting in the ocean for four days.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CORNELIS PLUGGE, JOHN LOW / FACEBOOK
Mr Low in the Diogo Cao's rescue boat with some of the ship's crewmen. First Officer Srdan Bazdan had spotted a bright orange ring buoy floating about 1km away and when the ship neared, they found Mr Low. The RSAF Rescue 10's Aircrew Specialist Nicol
Mr Low in the Diogo Cao's rescue boat with some of the ship's crewmen. First Officer Srdan Bazdan had spotted a bright orange ring buoy floating about 1km away and when the ship neared, they found Mr Low. PHOTO: JOHN LOW/FACEBOOK
Mr Low in the Diogo Cao's rescue boat with some of the ship's crewmen. First Officer Srdan Bazdan had spotted a bright orange ring buoy floating about 1km away and when the ship neared, they found Mr Low. The RSAF Rescue 10's Aircrew Specialist Nicol
Mr John Low recovering in hospital after he was rescued by a passing ship on May 7. PHOTO: JOHN LOW/FACEBOOK
Mr Low in the Diogo Cao's rescue boat with some of the ship's crewmen. First Officer Srdan Bazdan had spotted a bright orange ring buoy floating about 1km away and when the ship neared, they found Mr Low. The RSAF Rescue 10's Aircrew Specialist Nicol
Mr Low with Captain (Dr) Joel Tan, the medical officer who was part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's rescue team that flew Mr Low to Singapore. PHOTO: RSAF/FACEBOOK
Right: Mr John Low recovering in hospital after he was rescued by a passing ship on May 7. Far right: Mr Low with Captain (Dr) Joel Tan, the medical officer who was part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's rescue team that flew Mr Low to Singapo
The RSAF Rescue 10's Aircrew Specialist Nicolas Ong holding on to Mr Low, who was strapped in a stretcher, as they are winched up into the Super Puma helicopter. Since the dredging ship had cranes, antennae and other obstacles, Rescue 10 had to find enough room on deck to hoist Mr Low into the helicopter. PHOTO: RSAF/FACEBOOK

Dredging ship was on maiden voyage when its crew rescued S'pore diver, says captain

As their ship inched towards the naked man clinging to his ring buoy, Captain Cornelis Plugge and First Officer Srdan Bazdan of the Diogo Cao thought he was dead.

They were astonished when Mr John Low lifted his right arm to signal that he was alive. Mr Low, 60, said he was surprised that anyone saw him from the ship, which to him looked 10 storeys high.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline ''He looked more dead than alive''. Print Edition | Subscribe