Teenager Survives 49 Days At Sea In Fishing Hut

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An 18-year-old boy from Indonesia has been rescued after he spent 49 days adrift at sea in a fishing hut.

Aldi Novel Adilang was found by a Panamanian-flagged ship as the teen floated around 125km off the coast of Guam in a small fishing hut called a rompong, where he had been employed as a lamp-keeper.

Adilang drifted thousands of kilometres and astonishgly survived by using wood from the fishing hut to start fires, on which he cooked fish that he caught.

The teen was also forced to drink sea water during his unexpected journey.

A rompong is a small wooden fish trap, on which Adilang had worked since the aged of 16.

His job was to light the lamps which attract fish to the small vessel. However, it has no engine and no rudder, so once adrift, he was at the mercy of the sea.

Usually, the rompong would be anchored by ropes, but evidently, that method of securing the hut failed in this case. On 14 July, strong winds caused the ropes to break, which cast him out to sea.

During his time at sea, he tried to catch the attention of ships that he saw, but sadly he failed to signal them successfully, which became disheartening.

Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat from the country’s consulate in Osaka, Japan, said to The Jakarta Post: “[He] said he had been scared and often cried while adrift,

“Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him. None of them stopped or saw [him].”

After that many unsuccessful attempts to attract ships, including using a white cloth, he sent an emergency radio signal which eventually managed to get through to the crew of the MV Arpeggio, a Panamanian vessel.

They picked him up and, acting on orders from the coastguard of Guam, took him to Japan, where he arrived on the 6th of September. He was given special permission to enter Japan ‘due to disaster’.

Days later the teen was taken back to Indonesia and was reunited with his family and is said to be in good health.

His mother, Net Kahiking, said: “His boss told my husband that he went missing.

“So, we just surrendered to God and kept praying hard.

“He is now back at home and he will be 19 on September 30 – we’re going to celebrate.”


Images: Facebook/Indonesian Consulate Osaka

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