Ivan clung to a beach ball for 18 hours in the sea until he was rescued.
A tourist in Greece has endured an astonishing 18 hours at sea clinging to an inflatable beach ball before being rescued.
The 30-year-old tourist, known as Ivan, was swept out to sea off the coast of Myti Beach in Kassandra.
He was one of three men caught up in the powerful currents, and was declared lost at sea when the Greek Coastguard was unable to find him.
However, a Greek Air Force helicopter spotted him in the water, clutching onto an inflatable ball that had drifted towards him.
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Ivan later told media later that the half-inflated ball was the reason for his survival.
The ball actually belonged to two brothers, who had lost their toy 10 days earlier while playing on Evgatis beach on Lemnos Island when it was swept away by tides.
The boys’ mother recognised the ball when it appeared on a news story on Greek television.
A photo of Ivan posing with the ball, the local mayor Anastasia Chalkia and Ivan’s father outside a medical centre has been circulated widely by Greek media.
Chalkia wrote on Facebook: “I had constant information on the course of the rescue and am very happy about the smooth ending of the young man’s adventure. Investigations continue to locate a third missing person.
“I hope the third boy will be found alive very quickly. The young man found a ball that saved his life as it helped him when he got tired.
“Thanks to the port, the EKAB [National Centres for Emergency Care] and the Kassandra Health Center, the air force, the Greek police, the fishermen’s boats of Nea Skioni, the two boats sailing in the area, all the rescue teams and the volunteers.”