A kayaker says he owes his life to those who came to his rescue after being separated from his vessel in stormy seas off Auckland's coast on Sunday.
The saga began with a member of the public reporting an empty kayak floating north-east of Browns Bay in the mid-afternoon.
The Auckland Police Maritime Unit and Eagle helicopter were soon dispatched to search in the nearby area, assisted by Coastguard Hibiscus.
The rescue team arrived at the reported location of the kayak, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Alex, an experienced kayaker, was eventually located by the Eagle helicopter around three kilometres from his kayak, desperately treading water. He had been in the water for more than an hour.
In a video released today Alex can be seen swimming towards the police boat, before being hauled on board by the rescue team.
"It is an amazing feeling," Alex said in a video released by police.
"It is the kind of situation where you start accepting, because I really can't do much, and nobody knows... suddenly when I see the helicopter, and it is searching for me and actually found me it was a massive relief.
"It was unbelievable, I couldn't believe it.
"I owe my life to these guys, can't thank enough."
Sergeant Garry Larsen said Alex was a very experienced kayaker, and had a GPS device, cellphone in waterproof case, personal locator beacon and a lifesaving device.
"If he hadn't had the lifejacket on I don't think we would have been here talking like this.
"He did all the right things, apart from staying with the kayak."