Teenager rescued after 49 days adrift at sea

Members of Indonesian search and rescue team (PHOTO: Gallo/Getty)
Members of Indonesian search and rescue team (PHOTO: Gallo/Getty)

An Indonesian teenager has been rescued after 49 days adrift at sea, People reports.

Aldi Novel Adilang, who works as a lamp keeper on a remote fishing trap in the northern coast of Manado, Indonesia, was swept out to the Pacific Ocean on 14 July after a strong wind snapped the line that anchored his fishing raft.

According to the Jakarata post, the 19-year-old was at sea as part of his job which sees him light lamps around a rompong (wooden boat) with a power generator every night to attract fish for six months.

According to the website, Aldi did this every week, with the owner sending someone to harvest the fish in the trap and give the teenager a week’s worth of supplies, including food, gas for cooking, clean water and fuel for the generator.

The Indonesian consul general in Osaka, Mirza Nurhidayat, who led the operation to return Aldi to shore, said he managed to survive by catching fish and drinking sea water. “After he ran out of the cooking gas, he burned the rompong’s wooden fences to make a fire for cooking. He drank by sipping water from his clothes that had been wetted by sea water,” Mirza said.

Aldi was eventually rescued by a Panama-flagged vessel but before that, more than 10 ships had sailed past, failing to spot him as he waved for help.

Another diplomat of the consulate, Fajar Firdaus, said about Aldi condition after he was found, “Aldi 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 Aldi.”

Following medical test, Aldi was granted permission on 7 September to enter Japan before flying to Jakarta the next day as he was reunited with his family.

“Aldi’s story is indeed dramatic, and we are thankful to all—the ship’s captain and the Japanese authorities—that have been very helpful in ensuring Aldi’s return,” Mirza said.

Source: People, The Jakarta Post CNN,