Life jacket made from jeans saves German tourist lost at sea for three hours

A German tourist who fell overboard from a yacht and was lost at sea for three-and-a-half hours says he was saved by his jeans.

Arne Murke made a makeshift life jacket out of his trousers and it kept him afloat in rough seas 17 miles (28km) from Tolaga Bay, New Zealand, until rescue services arrived.

According to the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service, which posted a video of the incident on Facebook, Mr Murke had to contend with two-and-a-half metre swells after being knocked from his yacht by a swinging boom while sailing with his brother Helge.

“I was floating in the water not wearing any life jacket. Just my T-shirt, my jeans, that was all,” the 30-year-old told the New Zealand Herald.

“My brother started directly to get me but the swell was like three metres. He threw a life jacket with a rope overboard. I couldn’t reach that, it was already too far away.

“Luckily, I knew the trick with the jeans. Without the jeans I wouldn’t be here today, they were really the thing that saved me.”

Mr Murke said he tied knots in the legs of the jeans and pulled them over the water to draw air inside, before wrapping them around his shoulders much like a life jacket.

He said he saw the trick many years ago and thought at the time “if I ever go overboard without a life jacket, I’m going to do that”.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Mr Murke awaits rescue (Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service)</figcaption>
Mr Murke awaits rescue (Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service)

The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service plucked Mr Murke from the water by air.

The service wrote on Facebook: “He is so incredibly lucky to be alive.”

- Press Association

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