A Pair Of Jeans Saved The Life Of A Sailor Thrown Overboard

A quick-thinking German tourist converted his jeans into a buoyancy aide after being knocked into rough seas off the Gisborne Coast in New Zealand.

It's a story for the Grandkids.

Arne Murke and his brother Helge were sailing a 12-metre yacht from Auckland to Brazil last week when the yacht's mainsheet came loose in rough seas, knocking the 30-year-old into the ocean, 32 kilometres off Tolaga Bay.

Tangled in ropes, Murke was dragged next to the boat for several seconds but was swept out to sea by the time his brother could get his hands on a lifejacket.

"He threw a life jacket with a rope overboard but I couldn't reach that, it was already too far away," Murke told the New Zealand Herald. "Then I think the motor exploded".

Stranded at sea with nothing but a t-shirt and jeans to save him, Murke, fortunately, remembered a trick he'd learnt during a stint in the Navy Seals.

"I took a deep breath, took out my jeans, made knots at the end of the legs and inflated the jeans; pull it over water and get air inside and then push it under water - I had like an improvised life vest," he said.

The 30-year-old was forced to float in the middle of the ocean-- where he was knocked about by 2.5metre swells and forced to constantly re-inflate his jeans -- for three hours until he was finally spotted by a rescue helicopter and pulled to safety.

The rescue posted on Facebook:

Murke is confident that without the jeans, he wouldn't be alive to tell the tale.

He and his brother remain in New Zealand.

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As for when the survivor will head back out on the water?  He says very soon.

"I'm just going to be super careful in the future. I would never say I'm not going out any more, or I'm too scared," he said.