Skip To Content

    Japanese Tourist Rescued 6 Kilometres Off Australian Beach On A Surfboard

    He spent 16 hours at sea.

    A tourist has been rescued nearly 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) off the Australian coast after spending 16 hours in the sea drifting on a surfboard.

    The 37-year-old Japanese tourist was caught in a rip while surfing at Bulli Beach, on the NSW South Coast, on Thursday afternoon.

    The man told police he got into trouble when he couldn't fight the waves while trying to return to shore.

    The man tried to paddle back to shore for six hours, but then ran out of energy and spent the next 10 hours clinging to his surfboard to keep him afloat.

    The man was rescued on Friday morning after crew from the container ship MSC Damla spotted the man seated upright and floating on the yellow surfboard.

    Surfer drifted from Wollongong into the Pacific Ocean for 16 hours. Japanese tourist was saved off Bulli by cargo s… https://t.co/VLCIXS9jcq

    Footage shot by the crew show them throwing him a life buoy and pulling him aboard.

    He was given food and drink and warm clothing, and a boat was sent out to the container ship to retrieve him.

    Despite his ordeal, the unnamed man was in surprisingly good spirits and health. He was released from Wollongong Hospital after a check-up.

    "He appeared to be in fairly good health considering he had been at sea all night, and luckily for him temperatures only dropped to around 21 degrees [C/70F] through the night, which prevented him from getting hypothermia," Inspector Darren Wood from the Marine Area Command of NSW Police said.

    The man was travelling on his own, so wasn't reported missing when he disappeared on Thursday.

    "He appears to be travelling by himself, and that was why no one was alerted to the fact that he was stuck in this rip and that he was out there," Wood said.