A New York swimmer who was swept out to the Atlantic Ocean on Monday tread water for five hours before being rescued — thanks to a makeshift flag he built with his shirt and a fishing pole that was floating by, police said.
Dan Ho, from Copiague, New York, embarked on a morning swim around 5 a.m. at Cedar Beach on Long Island, when he was pulled by the current out to sea, according to a statement on Tuesday from the Suffolk County Police Department.
Ho, 63, created a makeshift flag by tying a broken fishing pole he found in the water to his t-shirt, police said. He waved the flag in the air to alert any passing boats of his presence.
Two good samaritans passing by in a boat, Jim Hohorst and Michael Ross, spotted Ho approximately 2 and a half miles south of where he first entered the water, according to police. The men pulled him aboard and Hohorst called for assistance.
“I thought I was done,” Ho said, according to Hohorst in an interview with Long Island news outlet Newsday.
“We figured he had maybe an hour left. He was very hypothermic and said he had been drinking a lot of salt water,” Hohorst told Newsday.
Ho did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.
First responders treated Ho, who was "conscious and alert but unable to stand," for hypothermia, according to police.
The United States Coast Guard also treated Ho, before he was transported in an ambulance to a local hospital.