Incredible story of how a piece of rubbish floating in the ocean saved the life of a sailor who fell overboard without a life jacket
- Vidam Perevertilov fell from the freighter Silver Supporter in the Pacific Ocean
- He fell from the deck while getting fresh air after his shift on February 16
- For hours he struggled to keep his head above water before he saw anything on the horizon
- Perevertilov swam to the fishing buoy and clung to it until he was rescued
A sailor who fought the raging waves of the Pacific for hours after falling overboard survived by clinging to an abandoned fishing buoy.
Vidam Perevertilov fell without a life jacket from the freighter Silver Supporter on February 16 during his normal voyage between Tauranga and Pitcairn Island.
After he finished his night shift in the engine room, he got hot and dizzy and went to the deck to breathe in some fresh air.
But in his exhausted state, he slid overboard in the pitch black into the icy sea while his crew and ship – not knowing he was missing – drifted into the distance.
Vidam Perevertilov (pictured) fell off the freighter Silver Supporter without a life jacket on February 16 during his regular voyage between Tauranga and Pitcairn Island
Mr. Perevertilov struggled for hours to stay afloat until the sunlight offered a glimpse of hope – something black that floated on the horizon for miles away.
He started swimming towards it. It turned out to be an old fishing buoy. It wasn’t anchored to anything or a boat, it was just a piece of marine debris, ” said his son Marat. Stuff from Lithuania.
At 10:00 AM, the crew realized that Mr. Perevertilov was missing and the captain reported the emergency and quickly turned the ship around.
Using work logs, they were able to determine the ship’s coordinates at 4 a.m., when Mr. Perevertilov was last seen, and send emergency messages to JRCC Tahiti and other ships in the area.
A rescue mission was launched, coordinated by several authorities, including a French naval aircraft in Polynesia and the Meteo-France, a French national meteorological service, which established probable drift patterns.
As the search teams increased their efforts, Perevertilov, parched and scorched under the sun, hoped someone would find him before nightfall.
At daybreak, the sailor swam to an abandoned fishing buoy several miles away, which kept him afloat until rescue teams arrived
Then suddenly the Silver Supporter appeared in the distance.
“The Silver Supporter was running search patterns, and one of the passengers said he heard a faint human scream from the starboard side of the ship,” Marat said.
Marat said the captain sent the ship back to the original search path and saw a lookout post sticking out a hand from the sea.
The freighter pulled up next to the sailor and threw him a lifebuoy, then lowered a ladder and a crew member pulled him aboard.
Marat, who was told the miraculous story of survival from his father, said he looked twenty years older when they found him.
“I probably drowned right away, but he always kept himself fit and healthy and that’s why I think he could survive,” said Marat.
The Silver Supporter’s crew (pictured) discovered he was missing six hours later and returned to the area to find Mr. Perevertilov alive