Tourist lost at sea survives for hours by using jeans as flotation device

ABOVE: Man survives hours lost at sea by turning jeans into makeshift life jacket.

A pair of jeans likely saved a man’s life after he was knocked overboard and lost at sea for over three hours, by turning the denim into a makeshift flotation device.

German tourist Arne Murke was sailing with his brother on a 12-metre yacht just off the coast of New Zealand last week. The pair encountered some rough waters, causing the yacht’s boom to “unexpectedly” swing, knocking Murke into the water.

“I was dragged next to the boat for one or two seconds down in the water, but then the rope got loose luckily, and I was floating in the water not wearing any life jacket. Just my T-shirt, my jeans, that was all,” Murke explained to the New Zealand Herald. “My brother started directly to get me but the swell was like three metres. He threw a life jacket with a rope overboard. I couldn’t reach that, it was already too far away. Then I think the motor exploded.”

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Murke began drifting away from his brother and the boat when he quickly remembered a “trick” he had learned some time ago.

“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 explained to the newspaper. “Without the jeans, I wouldn’t be here today. They were really the thing that saved me.”

Meanwhile, Murke’s brother sent out an emergency alert as soon as the man went overboard. Murke was alone in the water for nearly three hours before Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service spotted him floating in the sea.

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Video shows the rescue helicopter plucking Murke from the ocean, winching him to safety.

“Two times, it was really close to me but they didn’t see me and flew away,” Murke said of the rescue chopper. “At that moment, I was really doubting if they were going to come back for me. It took another 20 minutes but luckily I could see the helicopter again. They let down the rope and I was so glad.”

The man went on to thank everyone involved in the rescue mission.

MacGyver is said to be impressed.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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