He was not wearing a life jacket and was then some 400 nautical miles from the nearest land. He struggled to stay afloat until the sun came up, then made a last-ditch swim for a far-off black dot, which turned out to be an old un-anchored fishing buoy. Back on the ship, the crew realized the engineer was missing around 10am. They turned the ship around and headed for the location they’d been around 4am, when Perevertilov had last completed a work report. Then a crew member reported hearing “a weak, human shout on the starboard side of the ship” as the ship was running search patterns. For 10 minutes, nothing, then a lookout spotted a raised hand in the water.
Reports say that Perevertilov had shouted at the sight of his ship on the horizon around 6pm and that “he looked about 20 years older and very tired but he was alive,” clinging to “a piece of sea rubbish,” his son said. He added his father opted to leave the buoy behind “so it could save another person’s life.”