In 1942, on November 23, the German U-172 submarine discovered a vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, which was immediately torpedoed.
Lin Peng, finding the ship sinking, threw on his life jacket and jumped into the water. After a second, just like in the movies, the boilers exploded - the ship went to the bottom of the ocean.
After two hours of sailing, he saw an eight-foot standard life raft. Climbing onto it, he found some chocolate, forty liters of drinking water, sugar, and a couple of cans of cookies. Also on the raft were a couple of smoke bombs, some false flares and 1 electric lantern.
At first, Lin Peng ate and drank what was on the raft. But before long, he had to look for another source of survival. Using the awning of the raft, he collected rainwater, and turned the wires from the lantern into a fishing hook, using the rope as a fishing line. From a cookie jar he made a homemade knife.
Realizing that rescue would be a long time coming, he dried fish on a rope that he stretched over the raft - making a food supply.
Each day he knotted one knot on the rope, but he soon realized this was pointless and simply counted the months based on the full moons. The worst part was that the area where Linh swam was not deserted. He had been spotted a couple of times. A freighter saw him, but didn't take him on board because he was Chinese. Also a squadron of Navy planes threw him a signal buoy, but they lost it because of a big storm.
In April 1943, he realized he was close to land because the water was no longer purely oceanic. On April 5 he was discovered by Brazilian fishermen. They transported him three days later to Belém.
When Lin Peng ended up in the hospital, he had lost 9 kilograms during his entire "journey" and was able to move around completely on his own. In 1952, Lin Peng emigrated to the United States where he continued his service, retiring as chief steward.
He spent a total of 133 days on the raft. When told that no one had ever held on that long before, he said: "I hope no one ever has to break that record."
He was also awarded the British Empire Medal, and Lin's recommendations were incorporated into the ocean survival technique.