A 31-year-old Australian man was rescued and found alive after floating on a piece of wood for nearly 24 hours in the Torres Strait Islands, a shark and crocodile-infested region of the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Australian broadcast outlet ABC, the Australian man planned a trip last month to sail in a “dinghy” from Moa Island to Warraber (Sue) Islet in the Torres Strait Islands – an area located between the island of New Guinea and Australia’s Cape York Peninsula.
The man began the 40-mile journey at 9:30 a.m. and contacted his family at 11:00 to update them on his journey and whereabouts. The man was reported missing after not showing up for his intended final destination at 6:00 p.m., as reported by Breitbart.
Queensland Water Police (QWP) and The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) conducted a search of the area for the missing man at around 10:00 p.m. but later called off the search due to reportedly bad weather conditions.
The following day, a second search was conducted around 6:30 a.m. involving local volunteers, police vessels, and rescue helicopters.
A dinghy flipped upside down in the water was located at around 11:30 a.m. Following an aerial search of the area, the missing man was located one mile away from his boat clinging onto a wooden piece of debris.
AMSA posted photos on Twitter showing the man floating and clinging to the wooden piece of debris.
According to officials, the man was reported to be in “good spirits” after being flown to a nearby hospital and not suffering from any serious injuries.
Large saltwater crocodiles and sharks are located in the Torres Strait Islands. The sea predators habitually swim between continental Australia and the islands.
Officials are describing the rescue as a “Christmas miracle.”
QWP Senior Sergeant Moynihan told ABC, “It’s incredible. It’s one in a million.”
Sergeant Moynihan further added, “To be floating in that water and knowing the creatures that are in there and to still be there some 20 hours later — he’s an extremely lucky fella.”