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Man survives 19 hours at sea by clinging to a volleyball

Ivan, a 30-year-old North Macedonian man, was vacationing off the coast of Greece when he was swept out to sea

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A coast guard vessel takes part in a search and rescue operation near the eastern Aegean Sea island of Samos, Greece, Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

AP Photo/Michael Svarnias

A man survived for 19 hours lost at sea by clinging to a volleyball this week.

What happened: Thirty-year-old tourist Ivan from North Macedonia was vacationing at Myti Beach in Kassandra, Greece, when he and two other men were swept out to sea, Metro reported.

  • According to Greek Reporter, he noticed his friends were “struggling to keep their heads above the water.”
  • He also got caught in the strong currents, sweeping them all out to sea. Ivan’s friends alerted the coast guard to search for him and the other two men.

When did he find the ball?

While rescuers were searching for him, a volleyball floated toward him, and he clung to the ball to stay afloat, which helped him survive for 19 hours, per Metro.

What the mayor said: Anastasia Halkia, Mayor of Kassandra, told Greek Reporter that he survived with help from the ball and because he is “a particularly strong swimmer.”

Where did the child’s ball come from?

The ball had been lost just days before by 11-year-old Tryphon and six-year-old Thanos. After the amazing survival story was circulated by Greek media, the boys’ mother saw the ball, recognized it and alerted local media that it was her sons’ ball, per Fox5 New York.

One 28-year-old man is still missing at sea.