A story like this really makes you think - or at least it should - about your own preparedness. Which leads to speculation...
The seas were rough enough to rip off the life jacket (I can sort of see that) AND his pants?? Would the tether have used the belt loops? Certainly something I'd never considered. Then again, offshore
in warm seas, I suppose you might not be wearing pants in the first place.
With the seas rough enough to do all that, swimming or floating that long would seem nearly impossible. It would be a continual struggle to catch a breath now and then.
Maybe it was just swells, and only "rough" when tethered to the boat.
What an amazing story. It would be great to hear (and learn from) it from first-hand. One thing we can be certain of is that the media will get it all wrong.
Finally, although I hope it's never used like this, I am glad I have AIS