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Man survives 24 hours in shark-infested seas after using watch to signal for help
Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images / Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Man survives 24 hours in shark-infested seas after using watch to signal for help

He fell overboard while on a solo fishing trip

A man had an extraordinary escape after spending nearly 24 hours in the ocean.

The angler, who has been named as Will Fransen, had been out on a solo fishing trip on Tuesday when he fell overboard from his 40-foot boat after hooking what he thinks was a marlin.

The 61-year-old was unable to get back on board and became separated from his boat off New Zealand's northern island.

What followed was an ordeal lasting some 23 hours where he was left floating in shark-infested waters.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald about his ordeal, Will said: “I grabbed the line with the marlin attached and started pulling the line out.

"I tried pulling my way towards the boat only to have the line slip out of my hand, which is pretty gutting, because next thing my boat’s idling over the horizon and I’m treading water.”

Despite trying to swim to the Alderman Islands after falling overboard, Will found himself pushed away by currents.

Describing how he felt when he realised, Will said: “I gave up and just treaded water and watched the beautiful sunset overhead.”

Will Fransen survived being adrift for nearly 24 hours.

Fransen also said that a shark had come to 'have a sniff' at him, but fortunately left him alone.

After surviving nearly 24 hours in the water, Will was miraculously rescued.

Three fisherman, who have been named as Max White, James McDonnell, and Tyler Taffs had been on a fishing trip on Wednesday afternoon and spotted the reflection on Will's watch.

James described the rescue to Newshub as a 'series of fortunate events'.

He said: "We saw a glistening about 600 metres away from the boat at the time, and were curious as to what that could have been.

"As we got closer I think it was Max who said 'I think that's a person', and it was me who said 'surely not!'"

He added: "We were madly trying to clear gear probably 50 metres away from him and I think he was that desperate and worried that even at that point we hadn't quite noticed him."

He's lucky to be alive.

After getting Will on board and giving him water and cranberry juice the trio sped back to land.

There, Will was taken to the town of Whangamatā on the Coromandel Peninsula on New Zealand's north island, where he was treated for exhaustion and hypothermia.

In a statement, police said: "He endured a cold night in the ocean, too exhausted to keep swimming."

The statement added: "It's an absolute miracle the fisherman is still alive after the ordeal.

"Without the quick actions of the three gentlemen that retrieved him, this certainly would have had a tragic outcome.

"The boaties did an absolute stellar job and without a doubt saved this man's life."

Will also thanked emergency services.

His boat remains at sea and authorities are conducting a search to locate it.

Topics: News, World News, New Zealand, Shark