Man clings to a rock for 9 hours in the sea after jumping at midnight with friends in Italy

The Fire Department began the search for the missing man on the beach of Conchiglie.

Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

A man who went into the sea for a midnight dip with his friends and did not return was found after nine hours clinging to a rock in northern Italy..

Mattia Veronese28 years old, had gone into the sea with three friends on Conchiglie beach in Porto Tolle, in this part of Europe, around dawn last Saturday.

However, unlike his friends, Veronese was unable to return to shore.

His friends raised the alarm and the Chioggia Port Authority and Fire Brigade began a search for the missing man.

Although the huge waves made the operation difficult, a search and rescue helicopter spotted him clinging to rocks near Santa Giulia off the coast of Gorino di Gorofour miles south of where he had first entered the water, around 10 a.m.

Exhausted but conscious, he was loaded into the helicopter and taken to a hospital in Chioggia, as seen in this video, for a check-up.

He suffered minor injuries at the ordeal and ingested a lot of sea water. He was kept in the hospital under observation.

Veronese explained how he had survived the rough seas by clinging to a log before the waves pushed him ashore, where he clung to rocks..

The mayor of Porto Tolle, Roberto Pizzoli, said: “It has been hours of anguish for the family. I know them. The children went swimming at the free beach, but it is a dangerous area.”

“Nine hours at sea is truly a miracle. Last year there were two drownings. I relived those fears, but luckily it ended well,” she added.

In a statement obtained by Zenger News, the local fire brigade said: “The bather who disappeared last night in Porto Tolle, Rovigo province, was found this morning.”

“He was identified by helicopter pilots on a beach, after being swept away by the current, in the town of Gorino di Goro. The 28-year-old was later transported to hospital in Chioggia,” he added.

Pizzoli called on bathers to exercise caution on Conghlie beach, stating that it can be dangerous due to strong currents produced by the mouth of the Po River and the Adriatic Sea.

This summer, Italy has experienced extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and declining water levels in its rivers. City authorities have shut down gas fountains in some places to conserve water.

Along the Po River in northern Italy, once-fertile fields that produced grapes, wheat and rice have dried up as the drought continues.

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