Australian man and his dog survive two months at sea eating raw fish and rainwater

‘Incredible story’ earns comparisons to Tom Hanks starrer ‘Cast Away’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 18 July 2023 04:52 BST
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Australian sailor and his dog survive two months at sea

An Australian sailor and his dog were rescued after being adrift at sea for months in a remarkable tale of survival that has been likened to Tom Hanks starrer Cast Away.

Tim Shaddock, a 51-year-old Sydney resident and his dog Bella, survived at sea by eating raw fish and drinking rainwater, local reports said. The doctor who attended to the sailor said he had “normal vital signs” and said his dog is “stable and very well”.

Mr Shaddock and Bella were rescued off the coast of Mexico after spending an incredible two months lost at sea.

Weeks into their voyage from La Paz in Mexico to French Polynesia, their boat was severely damaged in a storm leading to them having to spend their days waiting for a rescue.

Local media reported that approximately two months later, salvation arrived when a helicopter accompanying a tuna trawler spotted Mr Shaddock’s boat.

“I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea. I am just needing rest and good food because I have been alone at sea [for] a long time. Otherwise, I am in very good health,” he told Australia’s 9News after the rescue.

Ocean survival expert Professor Mike Tipton told Sky News Australia that the rescue story of the Australian sailor was “remarkable”.

“It’s needle in a haystack,” professor Tipton said.

He was quoted by Weekend Today as saying that “luck was only a part of the pair’s incredible story”.

“It’s a combination of luck and skill.”

“And also knowing for example, as Tim did, that during the heat of the day, you need to protect yourself because the last thing you want when you’re in danger of becoming dehydrated is to be sweating,” he said.

“People need to appreciate how small the boat is and how vast the Pacific is. The chances of someone being found are pretty slim.”

The ocean survival expert also credits the dog, Bella, for having helped Mr Shaddock a “tremendous amount”.

Ocean survival expert Professor Mike Tipton told Sky News Australia that the rescue story of the Australian sailor was “remarkable” (Grupomar/Atun Tuny via AP)

“I think that may have well made the difference,” Mr Tipton said.

“You’re living very much from day to day and you have to have a very positive mental attitude in order to get through this kind of ordeal and not give up.

“But also, having a plan, rationing yourself in terms of water and food, is really the secret to long survival voyages.

“Just imagine how dark and lonely it would feel out there at night time,” he said.

The tuna trawler is currently back en route to Mexico, where Mr Shaddock will undergo medical tests and receive additional treatment if necessary.

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