(NYPOST) – A New Zealand woman survived for two days eating only hard candy when she got lost at sea in an inflatable dinghy off the coast of the Greek island of Crete, according to a new report.
Kushila Stein, 47, had been traveling for three weeks — helping a British man named Mike transport his Rival 34 yacht from southern Turkey to Athens — when she decided she needed a break to stretch her legs, The New Zealand Herald reported.
They were moored near the Greek island of Folegandros when Stein rowed her own dinghy 50 miles ashore and then took a jaunt to the top of a nearby mountain, according to the report.
Stein texted Mike at 4:30 p.m. Friday to say her phone battery was low and she was headed back — but on the way, she lost an oar overboard and the winds drifted her further and further from Mike’s yacht, according to the report.
Mike went looking for Stein, and contacted authorities when he didn’t find her by 8 a.m.
Greek authorities launched a search-and-rescue mission involving six coast guard vessels, a helicopter and an underwater drone, Stuff.co.nz reported.
At that point, Stein had already been adrift for about 12 hours, according to the report.
So she wrapped herself in three plastic bags and attempted to fill up on candies that she had kept in her daypack.
She also pointed a mirror to the sun every time a plane passed by, hoping to attract passengers’ attention — and took her wet socks off to keep warm overnight, according to the report.
“She also told me she wrote down my name and number and attached [them] to the dinghy so they would know who to contact if they found her and she was dead,” her mother, Wendy Stein, told the outlet.
About 37 to 40 hours passed before a coastguard vessel found Kushila “halfway between Crete and Folegandos,” Wendy told Stuff.
Kushila was rushed to a local hospital, where she was doing well.
“She told me, ‘I did everything I could to survive,’” her mother told Stuff. “She has been trained in sea survival so is quite competent. I think that might have saved her life.”
After surviving the two-day ordeal, Wendy told The New Zealand Herald that Kushila immediately had a piece of news to report.
“I still have one lolly left, mum,” she said.