After more than a day in the open ocean, a South African surfer was rescued after it was thought that he fell overboard during a surfing trip to Indonesia while battling seasickness.
Brett Archibald was rescued in the Indian Ocean by the crew of an Australian vessel 12 miles off of the Mentawai Island of Sipora. He exhibited signs of exposure after spending roughly 27 hours in the open ocean treading water and floating on his back.
Archibald was part of a surfing group who was on their way to a popular spot in Indonesia and fell overboard sometime during the night as he was dealing with seasickness. Other members of the group became alarmed when he did not show up for breakfast the following morning and quickly dispatched word to ready a search party.
After more than a day in the open ocean Archibald was spotted by the crew of a boat that originated out of Sydney.
"It was a feeling a sheer elation, when we dragged him onto the boat, we were all pumping the air and screaming," a member of the boat crew who rescued Archibald told Fairfax Media.
Archibald, who is married and has two children, told Surfing Life magazine that he thinks he lost consciousness while getting sick, woke up in the water and saw the boat several miles away from him.
"He said he came close to drowning at least eight times during his 27 hour ordeal [swimming and drifting at sea] and that he had been stung by jelly fish, picked at by fish and seagulls had tried to pluck his eyes out," Craig Lambinon, who works in Sea Rescue Communications for the National Sea Rescue Institute, told Stab.
Archibald said he is lucky to have been found and that he would not have been able to survive much longer. He did reveal that he saw land several times but was unable to swim ashore as the ocean current kept taking him out to sea.