An Australian sailor who was stranded in the Pacific Ocean for months says his bowel cancer diet regime may have helped him survive the terrifying ordeal.
Tim Shaddock, 51, and his dog were rescued two months after they had set off from the coast of Mexico with the intention to travel to French Polynesia on his catamaran, Australian media reported.
A few weeks into his journey, a storm destroyed Mr Shaddock’s electronics, leaving him unable to call for help or find his way to the nearest coast.
Against all odds, the boat was noticed by a helicopter which was operating with a tuna trawler, the Mirror reports.
“Can I get your name please?” a rescuer can be heard asking him in footage of the recovery. “I’m Tim Shaddock, I’m from Australia,” he replies.
The man and his dog were immediately given medical attention.
Speaking to Australian news channel 9 news, Mr Sharrock said: “I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea.”
“I’m just needing rest and good food because I have been alone at sea a long time. Otherwise, I’m in very good health.”
The man was able to keep himself alive by drinking rainwater and eating raw fish while lost in the Pacific Ocean.
Mr Shaddock revealed he had a brush with death a decade prior, claiming in a 2013 blog post that he undertook a “fully raw” diet to beat stage four bowel cancer.
He said in an interview at the time: “The concept of becoming ‘fully raw’ as I’ve heard being thrown around … did not become a reality to me until I was at the critical stage of my cancer diagnosis.
“I had to change my doctor regularly as they were naturally shocked at the dire results,” he said.
“And in their capacity as professional practitioners, they were very forceful in their manner that I take their advice immediately.”
Mr Shaddock believes the diet played a big role in his recovery, and although a healthy diet is recommended for bowel cancer patients, there is no scientific evidence to support his claims.
Mike Tipton, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology at the Extreme Environments Laboratory, said the unlikely happy outcome was achieved through “a combination of luck and skill”.
“And also knowing for example, as Tim did, that during the heat of the day you need to protect yourself because the last thing you want when you’re in danger of becoming dehydrated is to be sweating.”
The fact Mr Shaddock had Bella to keep him company may have been a big contributing factor, Professor Tipton said: “I think that may have well made the difference.
“You’re living very much from day to day and you have to have a very positive mental attitude in order to get through this kind of ordeal and not give up.”