Seaside holiday turns into overnight ordeal for novice swimmer stranded alone offshore in China

Tourist swept away by currents and spends 15 hours on the water before rescuers bring her back to land

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 3:17pm

Emergency workers rescued an exhausted novice swimmer off the coast of northeast China after she was swept out and spent the night on a pontoon unable to get back to shore, according to the Peninsula Morning News.

The 45-year-old woman, identified only as Fang, was spotted by early morning swimmers on the pontoon about 800 metres offshore in Dalian, Liaoning province, at about 5am on Friday, the report said.

Meet the Chinese swimmers who formed a river rescue squad

Fang, from Yushu in Jilin province, was on holiday on her own and had been paddling with a float ring on Thursday afternoon when she swam too far and was carried out by the current to near a sea bridge about 1km offshore.

She managed to swim to the pontoon about 200 metres away and spent the night there before swimmer Liu Zongmin, 63, and his three friends saw Fang desperately trying to get their attention.

Fang was too exhausted to swim back so Liu and the others raised the alarm with police.

By the time she was back on dry land, Fang had spent 15 hours on the water, the report said.

Chinese wild swimmers spark emergency rescue attempt

Strong ocean currents are common off the coast of Dalian and there have been a number of cases of tourists and even small boats being swept out to sea in recent years, particularly during the summer holiday season, according to the report.

“Not only tourists from elsewhere, but experienced local swimmers can also sometimes face danger here. A lot of the time, this is due to ocean currents,” Liu said.

He said the currents could be very unpredictable during both high and low tides, and the water in the area was particularly cold.