Tourist Survives 18 Hours at Sea By Clinging to a Soccer Ball

Strong currents swept a 30-year-old man out to sea while he was on a beach vacation—but reminiscent of the movie Castaway, he now has a soccer ball to thank for his survival.

The Macedonia man spent 18 hours holding on to the partially-deflated leather ball in the Aegean Sea before he was rescued 15 miles away.

Though a good swimmer, Ivan was growing tired when his luck changed, and the rainbow-colored ball came floating toward him, reports Serbian news site, Telegraf.

When news broke about Ivan’s real-life ‘Wilson!’ experience, a pair of Greek children reported that the colorful ball ended up in the sea 10 days earlier when they were playing football on the island of Lemnos—80 miles away.

Ivan was spotted by a Greek Air Force helicopter involved in the search team that was also looking for Ivan’s friend, who hasn’t been found, according to Global News.

Kassandra Mayor Anastasia Chalkia shared a photo posing with the ball alongside Ivan’s father outside a hospital in the northern peninsula municipality.

“I had constant information on the course of the rescue and am very happy about the smooth ending of the young man’s adventure.”