Home » Swimmer Survives Five Hours By Treading Ocean Water After Being Stranded

Swimmer Survives Five Hours By Treading Ocean Water After Being Stranded

by Nolan Hawk

A Long Island swimmer found himself in a life-or-death situation when he was swept out to sea.

63-year-old Dan Ho, an experienced swimmer, managed to stay afloat for more than five hours until two fishermen stumbled upon him by chance.

Ho’s ordeal began in the early morning if August 1, when he went for a 5am swim at Cedar Beach, Babylon.

Fierce waves and a strong current quickly sucked the Long Island man out into the ocean, and before he knew it, he was two-and-a-half miles from the coast.

Ho managed to keep his composure and stay afloat in the treacherous water. He even managed to repurpose a broken fishing rod that he found floating and his shirt to create a makeshift flag in an effort catch the attention of passing boats.

His plan finally worked at 10:30 am, when retired FDNY marine engineer Jim Hohorst and his friend Michael Ross spotted Ho’s flag while they were out fishing.

They quickly realized that Ho was in distress and pulled him aboard. At that point, his body had turned gray from hypothermia, and he believed he was about to die.

“He was just treading water, praying some boat would come by,” Ross told WABC. “I can tell you, no boats in the area, not for miles.”

Hohorst and Ross wrapped Ho in towels to keep him warm and immediately alerted emergency responders.

Suffolk County Police Department’s marine rescuers rushed to the scene and transferred Ho onto their ship, where they treated him for hypothermia.

Ultimately, Ho was brought to safety at the US Coast Guard Station on Fire Island and received further medical attention. He was then rushed to Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip by ambulance.

Ho was released from the hospital the next day wearing blue hospital scrubs and in good spirits.

“I just want to get myself together, take a shower,” Ho explained. “I’m home, I’m just trying to process everything.”

Ho reunited with Hohorst and Ross at the Bay Shore Marina the Wednesday after they rescued him.

“If it hadn’t been for that flag you were waving, we never would have spotted you,” Hohorst told Ho. “It saved your life.”

“We were just heading out. We were looking for [a] bunker for bait and that’s when I spotted the lobster flag waving back and forth but, something was wrong, it wasn’t moving like a lobster flag would move,” he explained.

Ho said that he tied his shirt to the rod because he was unable to get the attention of other boats that had passed him before the fisherman came to his aid.

was yelling to them, but they couldn’t hear me and the water was coming over my head,” he detailed. “I mean there were boats that came closer than you guys and they couldn’t hear me.”

“So I figured I had to do something,” Ho continued. “So I took my shirt off and the rod – I saw it was like 20 feet away but it took me almost 20 minutes to get it – but finally I did and I tied my shirt to it.”

Ho has since recovered from his harrowing time out at sea. “I’m fine right now; hospital was very good,” he told the New York Post. “I feel as strong as I normally am.”

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