Tourist survives 18 hours at sea after clinging to inflatable balloon in Greece

Ivan clung to a beach ball for 18 hours in the sea until he was rescued.


Ivan clung to a beach ball for 18 hours in the sea until he was rescued.

A tourist in Greece endured 18 hours at sea, clinging to an inflatable beach ball, before being rescued.

The 30-year-old tourist, known as Ivan, was swept out to sea off Myti beach in Kassandra.

He was one of three men caught in the powerful currents and was declared lost at sea when the Greek coast guard could not find him.

However, a Greek Air Force helicopter spotted him in the water, clutching an inflatable balloon that had drifted towards him.

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Ivan then told the media that the half-inflated balloon was the reason for his survival.

The ball actually belonged to two brothers, who had lost their toy 10 days earlier while playing on Evgatis beach on the island of Lemnos when it was swept away by the tides.

The boys’ mother recognized the ball when it appeared in a report on Greek TV.

A photo of Ivan posing with the ball, local mayor Anastasia Chalkia and Ivan’s father outside a medical center was widely shared by Greek media.

Chalkia wrote on Facebook: “I had constant updates on how the rescue was going and I’m very happy that the young man’s adventure was going well. Investigations are continuing to locate a third missing person.

“I hope the third boy will be found alive very soon. The young man found a bullet that saved his life because it helped him when he was tired.

“Thanks to the port, EKAB [National Centres for Emergency Care] and the Kassandra health center, the air force, the Greek police, the fishing boats of Nea Skioni, the two boats sailing in the area, all the rescue teams and the volunteers.

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