A fisherman swam for nearly seven hours to stay alive after falling off his trawler in mid-sea In the Indian city of Mangalore. In this image, people commute by boat near the international border between India and Bangladesh, in the Brahmaputra river in Dhubri district, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Aug. 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A fisherman swam for nearly seven hours to stay alive after falling off his trawler in mid-sea in the Indian city of Mangalore, Karnataka, on August 16.

Nagarajan, 40, was returning to the shore after fishing when the weather turned rough. He held on to his boat but the next moment, he was floating in the sea. The water swept him far away from his colleagues who were on nearby boats. He stayed calm and focused on keeping his hands and legs beating.

It was almost after a good half an hour that the fellow fishermen realized Nagarajan was missing. Around 35 deep sea fishing boats were mobilized soon after. But none of the rescuers could spot him for the next three hours.

Nagarajan saw a few boats moving away from him but despite putting in his best efforts he could not draw their attention. Sea creatures were pricking all over his body but the fisherman kept swimming in a desperate attempt to save himself.

"Nagarajan told me that some of the boats returned after one-and-a-half hours with a hope to find him. However, the water currents along the west were strong that he had swum way farther than they could imagine," Nagarajan's boss Vasanth S Salian said, local daily The Times Of India reported.

After a few more hours, he was spotted and rescued by the crew of a merchant vessel who contacted the New Mangalore Port authority.

Captain SR Patnaik, deputy conservator of the New Mangalore Port Trust, said he tried contacting the coast guard vessel to reach out to the fisherman but as the vessel was far off, he decided to instruct a passing merchant ship to rescue him.

Salian said he was absolutely fine despite spending over seven hours in the sea.

In a similar incident in June, a fisherman fell off his boat and swam four-and-a-half hours back to land in Lochaber, Scotland. Jamie Baillie, 37, was dragged into the sea after being catapulted feetfirst by his fishing rope. By the time he cut himself free, his boat had sped off into the distance. He then began to swim to the shore.

"I knew that I was in big trouble. The boat was under full steam and went off on its own. But, luckily for me, I had the back-up safety knife I keep for emergencies. By the time I'd got that out I was in the water and going under. So I quickly cut the rope to stop me being pulled to the bottom with the creels. I also managed to get off my welly boots and oilskins and dump them,” he told Express.

He got a really bad cramp and the ice water made things worse. "I had to swim really hard the whole way because I was in agony if I stopped,” he said.

He then reached a small island and borrowed a mobile phone to call the coast guard. He suffered from mild hypothermia.