• Vidam Perevertilov is the chief engineer on board the Silver Supporter
  • He walked out on to the deck after feeling dizzy
  • Perevertilov's son thinks he may have fainted as he does not remember falling overboard

A sailor, who fell into the Pacific Ocean, survived by clinging to a piece of "sea rubbish" for over 14 hours before being rescued.

Vidam Perevertilov, the Lithuanian chief engineer on board the Silver Supporter, said he felt "hot and dizzy" in the early hours of Feb. 16 after finishing a shift in the engine room. The Silver Supporter was delivering supplies on a usual run from New Zealand's Tauranga port to the Pitcairn Islands.

The 52-year-old then told his son Marat he was dizzy and walked out on to deck to recover, before falling, The Guardian reported.

“He doesn’t remember falling overboard. He may have fainted,” Perevetilov’s son told

Without a life jacket, Perevertilov decided to swim toward a black spot he could see on the horizon. It turned out to be an abandoned fishing buoy, to which he clung till he was rescued.

“It was not anchored to anything or a boat; it was just a piece of sea rubbish,” Marat was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.

The ship’s crew did not notice Perevertilov was missing for at least six hours. They then raised an alarm and radioed a distress call. French navy aircraft joined the search from Polynesia, according to The Guardian, and the French meteorological service tried to determine possible drift patterns.

The crew also looked at Perevertilov’s work log to ascertain when he was last on board.

The ship’s captain steered the vessel back and ran various search patterns. When he finally spotted the Silver Supporter, Perevertilov called out for help. A crew member heard him and a lookout saw a hand raised from the ocean. He was eventually pulled on board, unhurt.

British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke, who is also the governor of Pitcairn Island, said everyone was relieved to hear of the rescue.

A similar incident happened last year in the Pacific Ocean. An Australian sailor was rescued after spending hours clinging to a beacon. He was thrown off his boat after strong waves hit it, and swam half a mile to a beacon. He was rescued after another sailor, who saw the boat with the motor running and dog on it, alerted authorities.

Fishing buoy Pixabay