In a harrowing tale of resilience and survival, Jacob Childs, a 30-year-old scuba diving enthusiast, found himself adrift for over six hours.

The terrifying ordeal occurred off the southeast Queensland coast, near Bundaberg, back in 2016, when Childs, a self-described “relatively experienced diver,” was separated from his group mid-dive.

His disappearance triggered a massive air and sea search operation that included helicopters and boats. “It’s a long time to spend by yourself,” he recounted to ABC following his rescue, noting that although he could see and hear the helicopters, they couldn’t spot him.

As daylight and hope dwindled, Childs, who showed impressive presence of mind, recorded himself floating alone at sea – believing it could be the final video he ever made. “So that’s it. The sun goes down they won’t do nothing. That’s a wrap on old Jakey,” he lamented in the video.

Check out the video below:

Fortunately, the story had a happy ending. At around 6:00 pm, just after sunset, a plane finally located him, and the Water Police were able to rescue him.

During his time adrift, Childs was clad in a wetsuit, which kept him relatively warm. “I wasn’t overly tired as I was floating,” he added, explaining that he had initially drifted away due to a missed opportunity to grab the boat’s tagline. “There was no tagline out the back for me to grab on to… by the time the skipper had thrown it out I was already past it,” Childs said, detailing how currents and a delay in anchoring had contributed to his plight.

Sergeant Rob Jorna, the officer in charge of the search operation, credited Childs’ sea experience and level-headedness for the successful rescue. “He knew what to do, and his level-headedness at the time, and he didn’t panic and he did all the right things, and activated his safety equipment which alerted the air observer,” Jorna stated.

Despite the hours-long ordeal that included drifting approximately 30 nautical miles northeast of Bundaberg at the Althea Wreck, Childs remained undeterred. “I’ll be in the water tomorrow probably,” he confidently told ABC a day after his rescue.

And, just as he promised, Childs has continued his love of diving.

Childs’ ordeal not only serves as a remarkable story of survival that underscores the importance of safety protocols and preparedness, but it also highlights the indomitable human spirit.

“I think it’s just one of those things … if you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it,” he philosophically noted.

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