An Australian man was rescued off the country’s north coast Wednesday after surviving nearly 24 hours in shark- and crocodile-infested waters by clinging to a piece of wood.
The Queensland man, who has not been identified, was discovered by an air rescue crew in the rough waters of the Torres Strait, a little more than one mile away from his upturned dinghy, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
The man had left Getullai Island on Tuesday and failed to arrive at his destination on time. A search by rescue aircraft that evening was unsuccessful, but resumed the following morning with a helicopter and a police vessel joining the search.
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The AMSA, which posted photos of the man’s overturned boat and harrowing rescue, said “the upturned dinghy was located in the water and following a short aerial search the missing person was found about two kilometers from the dinghy.”
The AMSA said the man was lifted to safety after being found “clinging to some flotsam.”
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The authority said the man was “very lucky” to have survived the ordeal.
The Torres Strait, a region consisting of 18 islands scattered over an area of 48,000 square kilometers, is home to nearly 300 islands and a population of Indigenous Torres Strait Islanders with connections to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Sharks are known as protectors of the reef in the region.
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This incident follows the rescue of three men in the Gulf of Mexico, who survived for more than a day after their fishing boat sank, despite being attacked by sharks that left deep cuts on their hands and left one of their life jackets in tatters, according to CBS News.