Man Falls Asleep on Swim Ring, Drifts Into Open Sea for 19 Hours

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.10 - 2024 1:27 PM CET

A 58-year-old man was rescued after drifting on an inflatable ring for 19 hours in the open sea.

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What was supposed to be a relaxing day at the beach took a stressful turn when Hong Nan found himself stranded in the open sea after falling asleep on a rainbow-colored swim ring.

With no shore in sight and no one to hear his calls for help, the 58-year-old man had no other option but to cling tightly to his swim ring and pray for a passing boat.

After 19 hours in the open ocean, he was discovered by a passing fishing boat, the Wanli Princess 168, a few miles from the coast of Taiwan on July 7.

The Rescue

The fishing boat was heading toward the port of New Taipei when the crew spotted something unusual in the water.

As they got closer, they realized it was a topless man in a colorful swim ring.

The crew threw a life buoy to the man and pulled him into the boat before taking him back to port and calling emergency services.

According to Taiwan EBC News, although he was weak and dehydrated, the man appeared to be in good health, which was surprising given that he had been adrift for 19 hours.

How It Happened

When asked how he came to be floating several miles offshore, Hong Nan told reporters that he had jumped into the waters of New Taipei with a swim ring to cool off after a hot day of work.

He had also had a few drinks, and the sway of the sea caused him to fall into a deep sleep.

He recalled entering the water at around 6 or 7 in the evening on July 6, only to wake up hours later, drifting alone far from shore.

Stranded at Sea

Hong Nan tried shouting for help, but he was too far out for anyone to hear him.

He drifted through the night and into the next day until he was spotted by the Wanli Princess 168 at around 1:30 pm.

He was taken to a Taipei hospital, where doctors conducted tests and released him shortly after.

“At the scene, the patient had no obvious trauma and his vital signs were stable,” Xu Minglong of the New Taipei Fire Department told Taiwan EBC News.

“However, he asked us for water, so we rehydrated him first, and our colleagues also performed life-saving measures on him. The signs were measured again and his vital signs were stable, so we let him leave the emergency room on his own.”

Hong Nan’s story went viral, with many readers expressing amazement at his incredible luck. He could have drifted on the open waters for days without being spotted, but he only had to spend a night on his colorful swim ring.