This fisherman lost at sea in a tiny wooden dinghy survived by drinking his own urine for 11 days until he was saved by a cargo ship.
Nian Xinghua, 50, had been fishing with three others in the South China Sea off the coast of Pingtan County in Fuzhou, capital of East China’s Fujian Province.
The trip began on 10th May but he broke off from the group to fish on his own.
He recalled: “It was just 10 minutes away from shore, but I lost cell signal and a heavy fog set in. I lost contact with the others and had no idea which direction the land was. Then I ran out of fuel and could only float.”
Nian said he did not bring enough food or water and began eating his bait.
“I later had to eat rotten shrimp and small fish, but the biggest challenge was water,” he said.
He added: “I cut open a plastic bottle and collected water droplets. Every morning I would drink a bit of the mist water at the bottom of the bottle.
“I grabbed every plastic bottle floating by me to check if there was water inside, but I had to drink my own urine.
“I was elated when it rained on the eighth day.”
Nian said he held up his bright orange life vest at the end of a bamboo stick and waved it in the air at passing ships. Some did not notice him, while others saw him but ignored him.
Freighter skipper Zhou Yongguang, capital of the cargo ship Xin Fu Zhou, received reports of the fisherman lost in the Taiwan Strait and redirected his crew to a search and rescue effort on 21st May.
They found the extremely weak angler 63 kilometres – 34 nautical miles – from shore and spent over an hour trying to help him aboard.
After he had his first meal in 11 days, Nian was offered a phone to call his wife.
“My family thought it was a prank call!” Nian recalled.
They were reunited on 23rd May after Xin Fu Zhou reached its destination – the port of Qingdao in East China’s Shandong Province 780 miles from Nian’s home.
Captain Zhou said: “Mr Nian suffered a lot. He would cry at night because so many ships passed him by.
“When he was rescued and made the call to his family, his wife was shocked because they were already preparing his funeral.
“I’m very happy to see them reunited.”