Soccer ball

North Macedonian man survives 18-hour sea trial, aided by soccer ball

A lost soccer ball came in handy for a North Macedonian tourist swept into the sea off a Greek beach on Saturday. As Sian Elvin writes in Metro UK, a small, half-inflated football that two children lost on a beach in Lemnos on June 30 would be crucial to the survival of a 30-year-old man swept into the Aegean at 80. miles away. the coast of Kassandre:

The holidaymaker known only as Ivan, 30, found himself in trouble on Saturday when he was caught in strong currents off Myti beach in Kassandra, Greece.

Friends worried about his disappearance alerted the coastguard – but Ivan, from North Macedonia, was reported lost at sea.

But miraculously, his life was saved when a child’s ball floated towards him in the ocean.

… Brothers Tryphon, 11, and Thanos, 6, were playing with their favorite ball on Evgatis beach on the Greek island of Lemnos on June 30 when the sea washed it away.

But somehow the sea currents pushed him 80 miles away from the island and onto Ivan’s way.

It is a remarkable story. The origin of the bullet is only known thanks to the boys’ mother who saw the media coverage of Ivan’s rescue (he is shown on the right in the top photo with the bullet, along with his father and the mayor of Kassandra, Anastasia Chalkia) and grateful toy of her children. And, according to Anna Wichmann of, Ivan told the media afterwards that this proved crucial to his survival:

Although the ball ran out of air, Ivan was still able to use it to breathe and stay afloat while being pulled by the rough current.

Unfortunately, this story did not end well for everyone. Wichmann writes that Ivan only jumped into the water when he saw two of his friends struggling in the currents. One of them has since been found safe and sound, but the other is still missing.

[Metro UK,; photo from Anastasia Chalkia on Facebook]