A man who got lost while walking on sea ice off the German coast has been rescued after an alert internet user hundreds of miles away noticed him on live web-cam images of a beach, police confirmed Sunday.

Satellite imagery of sea ice

The man clambered into a 300-metre-wide belt of pack ice off St Peter Ording beach on the North Sea coast of Germany to take photographs of a sunset. After dusk, he could not remember in which direction land and sea were located.

He began flashing SOS signals with a pocket torch. A woman internet user in the Westerwald region of central Germany noticed the intermittent flashing in video images of the beach which tourist authorities provide around the clock.

She telephoned the area's police, who use the headlights of a patrol car to flash an answer to the man and guide him back to firm ground.

A police spokeswoman said the rescued man, aged about 40, declined to give his name and disappeared into the night. Police did not obtain the name of the internet informant either. The date of the incident was not disclosed.

After sea ice freezes, the wind and waves break it into chunks which wash up on beaches. The chunks off St Peter Ording are up to three metres high.

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