The TV crew with Animal Planet’s show River Monster was out looking for giant grouper off Barranyi North Island, near the coast of northern Australia, when they found something else: a castaway stranded on a deserted island.
And no, it wasn’t Tom Hanks.
But thanks to the TV crew, who were in the right place at the right time, this real-life castaway was saved. And chances are, he would’ve died the next day.
The saved castaway has only been identified as Tremine, a fisherman and roofer from Borroloola, Australia who was stranded on the island while hunting for oysters, Inside Edition reported.
Five people spotted and saved the castaway, including River Monsters host Jeremy Wade. The director of the episode (aptly named “Death Down Under”), Stephen Sherman, said they had picked a location to shoot off one side of Barranyi North Island.
They were looking for the Queensland Grouper, a bony fish that lives near coral reefs, The New York Daily News reported.
But on that day, the waters in the original shooting location were too choppy, so they moved, Fox News added. That’s when they spotted something strange.
“Together, we spotted this blue Esky, or cooler box, that was just sat on the rock,” Shearman recalled. And then, something else even more shocking occurred: “this guy with no clothes was running out of the cave, waving his arms out.”
In a remarkable stroke of coincidence, the TV crew’s guide that day, a Booraloola native named Ashley, recognized the man as his good friend. He had no idea he was missing and had no wife or kids back home to worry about where he was.
“He was used to him going away and not getting in touch. It was quite a shock when we discovered this semi-naked guy coming out of the cave, and it was his friend. He was completely dumbfounded.”
The TV crew mobilized quickly and saved the man by bringing him onto the boat. They plied him water and hydration pills. Shearman described Tremine as in very bad shape — he threw everything up.
He was reportedly embarrassed when he met the TV crew.
“Australian men (are) very proud,” Shearman said, and the “idea that he’d gotten lost was mortifying for him.”
But the castaway was likely more relieved than ashamed, since he’d been at death’s door just before he was saved, the director recalled.
“He had said his last prayer. He was prepared to die and meet his maker.”
He’d been stuck on the island for 60 hours, and the human body can only last 72 hours without water. Host Wade noted that one more day would’ve killed the castaway, who told the TV crew that he’d “seen turtle nests and heaps of empty bottles. So I was hoping that one of the bottles might have a bit of water in it … but I didn’t see no water in it.”
Temperatures in the area can reach 110 degrees. Stephen told the media that Tremine, an experienced hobby fisherman who often took short camping or fishing trips, was out fishing when he decided to hop off his boat in search of oysters. The conditions weren’t favorable that day, and he took a wrong turn at one point after oyster-digging for a couple hours.
“He had tried to walk back, got beaten by the sun, and made his way back to the beach,” he recounted. “Meanwhile, he had suffered from sunstroke and was unable to go any further. He then spent that first night on the beach, and the next morning he tried again, but the sun had gotten to be too much for him, and at this point, he is now trapped.”
The man was saved in November, and has since recovered from his ordeal. The director said the experience was “sobering.”
“I’ve made a lot of shows involving survival, but to see it first hand and to see the real shocking powers of what three days without water can do was really sobering. This guy is super experienced, goes out fishing a lot, he knows the landscape, he knows the dangers, and yet he succumbed to it so quickly.”
[Image via Animal Planet]