Man falls off yacht while urinating, swims three hours to safety

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A New Zealand sailor swam for three hours in rough seas after being swept overboard while urinating from a yacht on Saturday.

Todd Vercoe, 36, swam to shore in Kaituna Bay and signaled a rescue helicopter using a SOS sign etched in the sand.

The New Zealand Herald reports Vercoe is a house painter from Langs Beach, New Zealand, and was relieving himself off the back of the yacht about 5 miles offshore.

"That's when I fell in,” Vercoe told the newspaper. “I was yelling and screaming as soon as I hit the water. But there was no way they could hear me over the motor and they were both in the cabin below deck."

Vercoe says he breaststroked and swam through a thunderstorm in waters known to be home to sharks.

Eventually he reached the shore of Kaituna Bay and used his foot to write “SOS” in the sand. His plea for help was seen by a rescue helicopter.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Vercoe was hypothermic and flown to a hospital. He also had a small cut on his foot but was otherwise OK.