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70-year-old Tokyo man swept to sea by tide currents is safe, 16 hours after his ordeal

Date Posted: 2003-10-11

The man was visiting Ishigaki Island when the incident occurred. According to officials at the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency (Coat Guard), Hideo Murasugi had gone snorkeling alone on a reef about one kilometer offshore Sunday afternoon. While snorkeling he was swept out to the sea by the tide.

When Murasugi failed to return, his friends who had stayed on the beach alerted the MSA, which launched a search operation using patrol boats and a helicopter. The would-be rescuers failed to locate him.

Monday morning, a TV news reporter who had gone to the shore to cover the story of Murasugiís disappearance, spotted a man swimming towards the shore. To his astonishment the swimmer turned out to be Murasugi, who explained that he had started swimming toward shore in the morning after sunrise when he spotted a seawall.

Murasugi wore a wet suit, snorkel, goggles and flippers, and had drifted throughout the night. He said that he had not tried to swim against the tide. MSA officials estimated that he had been drifting about a total of 16 hours. When reaching the shore, Murasugi was reportedly in good spirits and had suffered no injuries.

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