Polish Man Braves Cyclone to Reach Australia on Home-Made Raft
By Tom Porter | January 27, 2013 5:10 AM EST
A man braved a cyclone and shark-infested waters on a raft made of twigs and bound with string in an attempt to reach Australia.
The Polish man, named as Vazlavand and believed to be in his 20s, faced sea swells of up to five feet and wind speeds of 40 knots that had grounded aircraft as he set off from Papua New Guinea on the flimsy vessel.
Shortly before Cyclone Oswald has passed overhead, according to The Independent, locals tried to dissuade him from making the crossing.
Though his motives are unknown, many believe he was trying to emigrate to Australia illegally.
He was found stranded among mangrove trees on Saibai Island on the Torres Straight at 2pm on Wednesday after having been adrift for 11 hours on the narrow, dangerous stretch of water.
Saibai residents spotted the man at sea, but despite scrambling a helicopter and customs ship to search for him, authorities were unable to locate him until he was found washed ashore by local police.
"It's the first time I've heard of someone trying to cross the Torres Strait in the middle of a cyclone," said Jo Meehan, a spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
She told Agence France-Presse that navigation in the area was "challenging" even for normal vessels, and that Vazlavand was lucky to have made it safely as far as he did.
'It's not something we'd recommend," she added.
"It's quite treacherous with reefs and rocks, and he did it in winds and high seas. He's very lucky to have made it."
The man was uninjured and had no possessions with him on the raft.
He is currently at a detention centre where he is waiting to be interviewed by Australian immigration authorities.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of illegal migrants from Papua New Guinea crossing the straits to Saibai and surrounding islands, prompting claims that Australia's northernmost border is underpoliced.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Jeremy Meeks Death Hoax: Handsome Felon's Fake Death after Release from Jail Goes Viral
- Another Aviation Disaster: Taiwan Plane Crashes, Passengers Aboard Feared Dead [PHOTO]
- 'Dronies' to Become Latest Trend as Tourism New Zealand Buys Drone to Record Tourists' Videos
- Tony Abbott Launches #BringThemHome Operation for MH17 Victims; Black Avatars Trending on Social Media
- Former Destiny’s Child Star Farrah Franklin Arrested
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Google Nexus 8 Release Date Soon Along with 2 More HTC Android Tablets – Reports
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales