For this man, a boat trip became a nightmare. He had been surviving on a raft in the open sea for 4 months. Poon Lim holds the world record for time spent surviving on a life raft as a castaway adrift at sea.
Poon Lim was a Chinese American sailor. He worked as a steward on a British ship during world war II. The ship was going from Cape Town to Surinam. The ship was armed but sailed alone.
In November 1942 it was attacked by a German Vessel. Two torpedoes sank the ship within minutes. There were 53 men on board. Poon Lim was the only survivor. He grabbed a life jacket and jumped into the water before the ship’s boilers exploded.
In two hours, he found an eight-foot square wooden raft. There were some food and water but he ran out of the provision. So he took a nail from the raft and wire from his torch to make a fish hook.
Lim also made a knife from a biscuit tin, which was on the raft. He collected rainwater in the canvas of his lifejacket. The biggest problem was that Poon Lim couldn’t swim. He tied a rope from the raft to his wrist in case he fell into the water.
Once a storm destroyed his fish stock and spoiled the water he collected. He was barely alive after the storm and lost the provision and water but Poon Lim wasn't supposed to die.
He caught a bird to drink its blood. It helped him to quench the thirst for a while then he noticed sharks. Lim didn’t panic! He decided to catch them. Lim used the remains of the bird he killed as bait. The shark wasn’t large, but it attacked Lim when he brought it aboard.
He used a water jug filled with water to kill it. Lim drank its blood and dried the meat. Lim saw a couple of the ships but none of them helped him. The thing was that during the war it was a kind of trap. Ships helped survivors and later found out that it was a spy.
Finally, he was found by Brazilian fisherman. Poon Lim lost 9 kg. He spent four weeks in the hospital. After all, he recovered. In total, he had spent 133 days in the open water.No one had a spent more time at sea in the raft before.
Commenting his record, Lim said: “I hope no one will have to break it”
King George VI bestowed on him a British Empire Medal upon his return to the UK, but Mr. Lim moved to the US after the war and lived there until he died in Brooklyn in January 1991.