A tourist visiting Greece is recovering after he was thought dead and lost at sea, in an incredible tale that sounds a lot like Cast Away — right down to the life-saving ball.
The man, identified only as 30-year-old Ivan, was swimming off Myti Beach in Kassandra, Greece when a current caught him along with two friends and swept them out to sea, local media report.
Search teams scoured the area but they couldn't immediately find the men, and they were all suspected to be lost.
But Ivan didn't drown in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Instead, he spotted and grabbed hold of a beat-up ball floating on the surface and used it to stay afloat through most of his 18-hour ordeal. The ball appears to be a volleyball from the photos, although the brand is not clear.
"The young man found a ball that saved his life, as it helped him when he got tired," Kassandra Mayor Anastasia Chalkia said in a Facebook post.
The ball was partially deflated so it wasn't the best life preserver, but it did the trick and Ivan managed to hang on until rescuers spotted him the following day.
A woman later told local media that the ball belonged to her two boys. She said the boys lost the ball while playing with it on the shores of another island several days earlier, and that it must've found Ivan through pure luck.
The case is drawing plenty of comparisons to Cast Away, the film starring Tom Hanks in which he crash-lands on a tiny island and then imagines a Wilson-made volleyball to be his only friend.
But while, in the film, Tom Hanks has to give up Wilson during his raft journey to safety, Ivan held onto his volleyball until the very end.
Ivan, who is from North Macedonia, now hopes rescuers will get lucky and find his friends who went missing that same day.