Man swept out to sea in Greece survives 18 hours adrift by clinging to children’s beach ball

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A man has been rescued in Greece after surviving 18 hours adrift at sea by clinging to a small inflatable beach ball.

The tourist, known as Ivan, 30, was one of three men swept away by powerful currents off Myti beach in Kassandra, Greece.

Friends raised the alarm with the Greek Coast Guard after he went missing, but Ivan was declared lost at sea when they couldn’t find him.

Surprisingly, the vacationer from North Macedonia was able to keep himself afloat thanks to a small ball that drifted towards him.

He clung to the balloon for the next 18 hours until a Greek Air Force helicopter spotted him. Ivan was pulled from the water on July 10, still clinging to the balloon that saved his life.

The ball belonged to brothers Tryphon, 11, and Thanos, 6, who had lost their toy 10 days earlier while playing on Evgatis beach on the island of Lemnos, when it was swept away by tides.

Fortunately for Ivan, the bullet was carried by sea currents on its way, about 80 miles from the island.

He then told local media that the balloon, although half inflated, was the reason he survived.

The boys’ mother spotted the story on Greek TV and came forward after recognizing her sons’ toy.

A photo of Kassandria Mayor Anastasia Chalkia posing with the ball alongside Ivan and Ivan’s father outside a medical center was widely shared by Greek media.

On Facebook, Ms Chalkia wrote: “I had constant updates on how the rescue was going and I’m very happy with how well the young man’s adventure was going. Investigations are continuing to locate a third missing person.

“I hope the third boy will be found alive very soon. The young man found a bullet that saved his life because it helped him when he was tired.

“Thanks to the port, EKAB [National Centres for Emergency Care] and the Kassandra health center, the air force, the Greek police, the fishing boats of Nea Skioni, the two boats sailing in the area, all the rescue teams and the volunteers.

Since July 13, Ivan’s friend Martin Jovanovski, who was also swept away at the same time, is still missing.

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