Chinese woman 'survives 38 hours in sea' after falling from cruise

  • Published
Tourists walk on deck of a cruise ship anchored in Colon, some 100 km north of Panama City on December 7, 2008.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The woman was reportedly enjoying the view from the ship's deck when she fell overboard (file photo)

A Chinese woman who fell off a cruise ship and drifted at sea for 38 hours before being rescued by fishermen has lived to tell the tale.

The woman from Shanghai, known only by her surname Fan, leaned too far forward from a ship deck and fell overboard, according to Chinese media.

She reportedly fell from the fourth deck, the approximate height of a seven-floor building.

The 31-year-old survived the ordeal with only minor injuries, reports said.

Ms Fan was on a five-day cruise on the Royal Caribbean from Shanghai to South Korea and Japan, according to reports.

She reportedly had nothing to cling on to after she fell in the sea, and drifted for most of the time until she saw a fishing boat approaching.

Her parents, who were allegedly on the cruise with her, did not realise she was missing until hours later.

Her father refused to believe his daughter was alive until he heard her voice on the phone, reports said.

'She should join the Olympics'

The 1.75m tall woman had allegedly been enjoying the view on the cruise deck on Wednesday night when she accidentally fell forward into the sea.

She called for help but was not heard.

She eventually became exhausted, yet somehow managed to tread water while dozing off, Chinese media said.

She spotted a fishing vessel when she awoke on Friday morning.

Fan is said to have escaped with only blisters on her arms caused by jellyfish stings.

Some users took to micro-blogging site Sina Weibo to express their incredulity.

"She didn't eat and drink at sea for 38 hours and she survived? That's a miracle," said one user.

Image source, Weibo
Image caption,
"Someone's been watching too much of the Titanic", says the last comment

"This can't be real," said another.

One commenter was more light-hearted, saying: "She should join the Olympics".

Reports suggest that Fan's physical strength may have helped her, as she studied sport at university and started swimming from the age of five.

Local media attributed her survival to her "strong will" - but did not explain how she survived the low temperatures.

Earlier this year, a 33-year-old woman in the US fell overboard a cruise from Texas to Mexico.

Her friends were not aware that she had gone missing until 10 hours later, and police have yet to find her body.