A woman who spent two days lost at sea says she kept herself alive by eating a “handful” of boiled sweets.
Kushila Stein, 47, is lucky to be alive after losing her oar and drifting nearly 70 miles in the Aegean Sea north of Crete.
She disappeared on Friday, and her family feared the worst as a huge search operation was launched for her.
With no water onboard the dinghy she was inside, she was forced to ration out her supply of boiled lollies.
Kushila also wrapped her hands in plastic bags to keep warm as strong winds took her further and further from safety.
She had been onboard a yacht with a British man named Mike when she decided to stretch her legs on the shore and set off alone.
On Friday she messaged Mike and said she was on her way back at 4.30pm, and told him her phone battery was low.
When she didn’t return he assumed she had stayed on land, but the following morning he became anxious and contacted the coastguard.
A huge rescue operation was launched to find her.
Incredibly Kushila was at sea for 37 hours before she was found.
Worried she would not survive, she wrote her mum’s phone number on the side of the dinghy.
Kushila’s mum Wendy told Stuff her daughter had done everything she could to survive.
“She has been trained in sea survival so is quite competent,” Wendy said.
“I think that might have saved her life.”
And she stated: “She also told me she wrote down my name and number and attached to the dinghy so they would know who to contact if they found her and she was dead.”
On top of this she pointed a small mirror at the sun hoping the reflection would be spotted from passing planes.
Kushila was taken to hospital, but is not thought to have suffered serious injury during her ordeal.
She also dried out her socks in order to keep warm.
She and Mike were delivering the yacht from southern Turkey to Greece, the New Zealand Herald reports .
Wendy told the newspaper she received a call from Mike saying: “She is found and alive.”
She whooped with relief, Wendy said.
Kushila had been spotted by the Greek coastguard, and was able to walk to the boat.