A German tourist who was stranded for days on the shoreline of a Labrador river was finally rescued on Thursday.

Rüdiger Eder, 55, was dropped off at the Kenamu River Bridge on the Trans-Labrador Highway on Sunday for a three-day trip on the river. 

Eder had been paddling for about five hours on the Kenamu River, which is about 40 kilometres from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, when he lost his paddle in the current.

"I hit a rock, I lost my paddle and control over my canoe. The canoe ran full of water, and I made it up on a … big rock, climbed up on it, and [held] on to the canoe. But I couldn't empty it out, it wasn't possible," he told CBC's Labrador Morning.

Eder then activated his GPS tracking system, and hoped someone would receive his signal.

"I spent the night on that same rock, tied the boat around my waist and my shoulders — loose enough so I could get out of the ropes, but that I could take the weight with my whole body," he said.

"At 10 o'clock the next morning, I made the decision there was no signal transmitted, and I jumped in the river again, holding on to my canoe and my equipment because I knew I needed to survive."

Eder continued along the river for about 500 metres, before tragedy struck again, and his canoe got stuck on two rocks. He then swam to shore.

'At 10 o'clock the next morning... I jumped in the river again, holding on to my canoe and my equipment, because I knew I needed to survive.' - Rüdiger Eder

 "I changed clothes... and I lit the fire, and I put up a small place for me to sleep with branches and a tarp, and crawled into a sleeping bag at nighttime," he said.

"While I was there, I noticed a helicopter came up the river in the morning time, 7 o'clock, so I tried to get his attention, twice."

Finally on Thursday morning, Eder decided to make a bigger show to get the pilot's attention, so he built a fire.

Police said a commercial helicopter pilot spotted Eder around 7:20 a.m. on Thursday.

Eder said the pilot couldn't land the chopper at the time because the water levels were too high in the area. 

But three hours later, a ground search and rescue team arrived in another helicopter. 

The chopper hovered near the location, and the team rappelled down to get him. Eder waded back into the water, and was able to climb into the aircraft.

He was then flown to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, safe and sound.