‘Extraordinary survival story’: Log ship jumper in water for 23 hours

Police have released without charge the crewman who got off the log ship Paovosa Wisdom in Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay on Monday night in an incident described as “an extraordinary survival story”.

The Myanmar man, aged in his late 30s, made his way off the ship that night clad in an immersion (survival) suit and was in the water for 23 hours.

He was spotted and picked up by the Eastland Port pilot boat at around 4.40pm on Tuesday afternoon.

The man has undergone a Covid-19 test since coming ashore, and Inspector Darren Paki, the police area crime prevention manager, said the test result had come back negative.

“He has been placed in a suitable facility in Gisborne to see out his quarantine period in supported isolation.

“The man is in good health and is being held in that facility as a precaution.

“This really was an extraordinary survival story because he was in the water for 23 hours,” Paki said.

“But he was so lucky he was found when he was, given how bad the weather has become since Tuesday afternoon.”

Paki said the man had obviously left the ship prepared.

“He had prepared to survive in the water with the obvious intent to get ashore somewhere.

“He climbed down a rope to get over the side of the ship.”

Police have been in contact with the ship’s captain and its agent, Paki said.

“We are not in a position to say if he has sought asylum in New Zealand. That will be something for Immigration New Zealand to comment on.

“Likewise, Immigration NZ will be in touch with the man’s family in Myanmar.

“We have decided the man will not face any charges from police as a result of his actions,” Paki said.

“He has been released into the care of the health authorities without charge.”

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