A 69-year-old Japanese man has been rescued in rough seas off Japan after spending 22 hours drifting in open water, with one official calling his survival a “miracle”.

The man, whose name has not been released, was alone on a boat off south-western Kagoshima prefecture en route to the resort island of Yakushima on Saturday afternoon when it capsized.

He managed to call a colleague on the island to alert him, but was not found until nearly a day later, the coastguard said, when rescuers spotted him sitting on the engine of his capsized boat, clasping a propeller part.

“He was out in the sea alone for 22 hours. I am amazed by his survival skills,” a coastguard official said, declining to be identified.

Dramatic footage released by the coastguard showed a team approaching the man by boat, calling out: “We are coming! Just a little bit longer! Hold on tight!”

The man was able to wrap himself in a grey plastic sheet, helping him stay warm, officials said.

“It’s a miracle he survived,” a coastguard official told the Asahi Shimbun daily.

Watch the video here