German tourist Arne Murke was knocked from a 12-metre yacht while sailing with his brother, Helge, about 28km from Tolaga Bay on March 6.
While sailing south down the New Zealand coastline in rough conditions at about 2pm, a loose mainsheet caused the boom to “unexpectedly” swing and knock Arne overboard, tangling his arm in a rope.
“I was dragged next to the boat for one or two seconds down in the water, but then the rope got loose luckily, and I was floating in the water not wearing any life jacket. Just my t-shirt, my jeans, that was all,” Arne told the Herald on Sunday.
“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. Then I think the motor exploded.
“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. “
Murke’s quick thinking saw him transform his jeans into a life-saving buoyancy aide; employing a technique employed by Navy Seals.
“I saw it many years ago and I always thought if I ever go overboard without a life jacket I’m going to do that,” he said.
“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 – I had like an improvised life vest.”
Source: NZ Herald
Image: Arne Murke Facebook