A man was rescued from a remote beach in Northland after
rescue helicopter staff spotted the SOS he had written in the
Todd Vercoe told 3 News he was swept off the back of a boat
yesterday afternoon a kilometre north of Rimariki Island, and
watched as the boat sailed away without him.
Cold and weighed down by heavy clothes, Mr Vercoe began
swimming towards the island.
He swam to the rocky reef and thought he would have better
chance of being spotted if he was on the mainland.
"I thought my time was up," he said.
He said he was worried about sharks and was feeling very cold
but managed to swim for around two hours to make it to shore.
There he scratched a big SOS into the sand.
Northland Electricity rescue helicopter pilot Dean
Voelkerling told 3 News that as night fell the crew prepared
to turn back for night-vision gear when they spotted the SOS
in the sand at Kaituna Bay.
He said Mr Vercoe was very lucky to be found, and hadn't
suffered any injuries in his ordeal.
He was treated for mild hypothermia.