Cast Away Wilson the volleyball has finally been rescued, 19 years after Tom Hanks was picked up by a container ship in the Pacific Ocean.
While the world rejoiced at Hanks’ return to civilisation after four years stuck on a desert island, nothing was heard of Wilson again.
But this week it was revealed the volleyball, who was last seen floating helplessly away from Hanks’ raft in Cast Away, had been found by a fishing boat.
Wilson had been bobbing around in the sea for the 18 years since Hanks was picked up.
Trawler skipper Steve Walshe said: “We were heading back to port when we spotted something in the water.
“When we got a bit closer we realised it was a volleyball with a distinctive red face.
“Unbelievably it was Wilson, and he was still alive if a little deflated.”
Cast Away Wilson
Wilson, 22, is now being cared for at a sports hospital in Los Angeles before beginning the long process of being integrated once again into the modern world.
He has not been able to speak a word since his rescue and is clearly traumatised by the initial plane crash in 1995, four years of being spoken to by Tom Hanks on a desert island, and then 19 years of drifting in the sea.
Volleyball behaviour expert Lorraine Fisher, 34, from Suffolk, explained: “Poor Wilson will be under enormous emotional strain.
“He needs to be reintroduced to society slowly, and hopefully one day he will be bouncing around again and be able to have a family.”
She said it was unlikely he would make it to professional volleyball games, so she will have no use for her William Hill Plus card, which she uses to bet on sport.
Millions of cinema-goers still cry recalling the scene when Wilson fell off Hanks’ raft and floated away into oblivion.
It was always assumed he had drowned or had been torn apart by sharks.