Over and over, the ocean waves battered him. And the 69-year-old man endured for 22 hours, sitting on the engine of his capsized boat in rough seas off Japan, gripping the propeller to help stabilize him. His only protection from the elements was a grey plastic sheet, which he wrapped around his body. He remained in that position as Japan's Coast Guard finally reached him Sunday. Almost a day earlier, the unidentified man had been traveling to the resort island of Yakushima when his boat capsized off southwestern Kagoshima prefecture, reports AFP. He was able to alert a colleague on the island, but it was 22 hours before rescuers arrived.
"We are coming! Just a little bit longer! Hold on tight!" officials shouted in video footage of the dramatic rescue, per AFP. It shows a rescue swimmer reaching the overturned boat as battering waves wash over it, easily soaking the lower half of the stranded man's body. "He was out in the sea alone for 22 hours. I am amazed by his survival skills,” AFP quoted an official as saying. "It's a miracle he survived," a coast guard official told Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily, according to the outlet. The man was fitted with a life jacket before being pulled aboard a rescue boat and wrapped in what looked like a warm blanket. There's no word on his current condition. (Read more rescue stories.)