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Man Survives 18 Hours At Sea By Clinging On To Football Like Cast Away

Claire Reid

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Man Survives 18 Hours At Sea By Clinging On To Football Like Cast Away

A bloke managed to survive 18-hours adrift at sea by holding onto a ball that had been left behind by boys at a beach 80 miles away. 

The incredible incident unfolded after a tourist named only as Ivan was swept out to sea by powerful currents off the coast of Kassandra in Greece.

As he was pulled further and further away from the shore, his panicked friends raised the alarm with the Greek coastguard and Ivan was declared lost at sea. 

But somewhat miraculously, the 30-year-old was saved when a small ball floated towards him. 

Ivan's life was saved by a football washed out to sea. Credit: Newsflash
Ivan's life was saved by a football washed out to sea. Credit: Newsflash

The ball had been lost 30 June on Evgatis Beach on the Greek island of Lemnos by brothers Tryphon, 11, and six-year-old Thanos, where it was swept away by the tide. 

Fast forward ten days and the ball made its way past Ivan who was able to grab hold of it and soon discovered that it helped him stay afloat when he started to feel tired.

Ivan, from North Macedonia, was finally plucked from the water on 10 July after a whopping 18-hours at sea, when he was found by rescuers he was still clutching the ball. 

According to a local news outlet, Ivan was spotted by a Greek Air Force helicopter that was looking for him.

The tourist spent a whopping 18 hours at sea. Credit: Newsflash
The tourist spent a whopping 18 hours at sea. Credit: Newsflash

In an interesting coincidence, the mother of the boys who originally lost the ball spotted it on Greek TV during a news report about Ivan’s rescue. 

After the rescue, Ivan said the ball, despite only being half-inflated, helped him to stay alive.

In a photo widely circulated by Greek media, the mayor of Kassandra, Anastasia Chalkia, posed with the ball alongside Ivan’s father outside a medical centre.

In a post on Facebook, Chalkia said: “I had constant information on the course of the rescue and am very happy about the smooth ending of the young man’s adventure.

Mayor of Kassandra, Anastasia Chalkia holding the ball. Credit: Newsflash
Mayor of Kassandra, Anastasia Chalkia holding the ball. Credit: Newsflash

“The young man found a ball that saved his life as he helped him when he got tired.

"Thanks to the port, the EKAB and the Kassandra Health Center, the air force, the Greek police, the fishermen's boats of Nea Skioni, the two boats sailing in the area, all the rescue teams and the volunteers.”

He has since fully recovered from the ordeal, according to local media. 

Sadly, his friend Martin Jovanovski, who was also swept out to sea at the same time, remains missing as of yesterday.

Featured Image Credit: Newsflash

Topics: World News

Claire Reid
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