This amazing tale describes how a tourist escaped drowning by relying solely on a small inflatable ball.
The 30-year-old tourist only known as Ivan got into trouble on Saturday when he got swept up in strong currents off the coast of Myti Beach in Kassandra, Greece. Friends who were concerned about Ivan’s disappearance informed the coastguard, but Ivan, a native of North Macedonia, was deemed lost at sea.
The lucky man, who has only been named Ivan from North Macedonia, was enjoying a swim in the surf off the coast of Kassandra, Greece, when strong currents drew him away from the shore, according to The Independent.
Ivan was deemed lost at sea after his companions informed the Greek coastguard of the danger he was in. Ivan was not by himself, even if the coastguard personnel was having trouble getting to him.
The North Macedonian man was astounded to find a little soccer ball bouncing on the waves as he struggled to keep afloat. Two boys, Tryphon, 11, and Thanos, 6, were playing in the sea on the Greek island of Lemnos when they lost the ball.
The ball managed to float till it found Ivan despite the fact that the boys had lost it 10 days earlier (on June 30), and Lemnos is more than 80 miles away from where he was swept away.
Ivan discovered that holding onto the buoyant ball allowed him to stay afloat even when his legs were too worn out to continue kicking.
On July 10, after a whopping 18 hours at sea, a Greek Air Force helicopter finally located the castaway from above and plucked him from the seas.
Ivan’s father posed for photos with Anastasia Chalkia, the mayor of Kassandra, and the soccer ball that saved his son’s life while he was in the hospital getting better.
In yet another amazing turn of events, Tryphon and Thanos’ mother saw the news image and recognised Ivan’s lucky ball as the one that her sons had lost a few days earlier.
Per The Independent, Chalkia wrote in a Facebook post, writing: “I had constant information on the course of the rescue and am very happy about the smooth ending of the young man’s adventure.”
“The young man found a ball that saved his life as he helped him when he got tired,” she described, before moving on to thank all those who had helped in the rescue:
“Thanks to the port, the EKAB and the Kassandra Health Center, the air force, the Greek police, the fishermen’s boats of Nea Skioni, the two boats sailing in the area, all the rescue teams and the volunteers.”