News World Sailor survives three hours lost at sea thanks to his jeans

Sailor survives three hours lost at sea thanks to his jeans

When filled with air, soaked jeans can keep a swimmer afloat indefinitely. Photo: US Navy
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A quick-thinking German tourist says he owes his life to his jeans and a good memory after recalling a military survival technique that kept him alive for three hours in rough seas off New Zealand.

Arne Murke, who had set out with his brother to sail a 12-metre yacht from Auckland to Brazil, was knocked overboard while dressed only in a T-shirt and jeans on March 6.

Arne Murke’s inflated jeans kept him afloat until help arrived. Photo: ELP

His brother raised the alarm after he couldn’t reach him in the three-metre swell and attempts to throw the 30-year-old a life jacket failed.

“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,” he told New Zealand’s Sunday Herald.

He transformed his jeans into a life-saving buoyancy aide using a technique employed by Navy Seals.

“I took a deep breath, took out my jeans, made knots at the end of the legs and inflated the jeans – pull it over water and get air inside and then push it under water,” he said.

“I had like an improvised life vest.”

After about three-and-a-half hours in the water, Murke was spotted by a rescue helicopter.

“Life jackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water,” Chris Henshaw from the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ said in a statement.

“It was fortunate the yacht had both a VHF radio and emergency beacons to raise the alert,” he added.

“Without appropriate communications devices and beacons it may have turned out differently,” Henshaw said.

-with AAP