A small radio, a bit of food, and a Bible helped an Indonesian teen survive a nightmare at sea.
The teen, Aldi Novel Adilang, a 19-year-old lamp keeper who worked alone on a floating fishing hut called a “rompong” 80 miles off North Sulawesi, Indonesia, survived an incredible 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean, several news outlets including Fox News are now reporting.
The teen was employed to light the rompong’s lamps, which attract fish, a job his father said he’s had since he was 16, according to The Guardian.
Each week someone would come to harvest the fish from the traps and deliver to Adilang fresh supplies of food, water and fuel.
The small floating hut — one of 50 owned by the company and spread across the waters of Manado — was anchored to the seabed by a rope and suspended by buoys, The Guardian said.
Strong winds during a storm on July 14 reportedly snapped the lines — keeping the boy moored in place. Helpless, he floated away without even a paddle to help him return to shore.
Adilang reportedly caught fish, burned wood from his hut, and drank sea water through his clothing in order to filter out some of the salt.
The teen said he thought he “was going to die out there,” he told local news portal TribunManado, said The Guardian.
At one point he said was suicidal and considered jumping into the ocean, but he remembered his parents’ advice to pray when in distress.
He had a Bible on board, so he did.
He said through a diplomat that it was frustrating seeing ships in the distance and being unable to attract their attention.
“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,” Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat from the consulate in Osaka, told The Jakarta Post.
“Aldi was scared and cried often” during his time adrift, said Firdaus.
Adilang was rescued on August 31 near Guam, after initially waving a cloth at the MV Arpeggio, which was passing by.
When that didn’t work, he managed to send a radio frequency to the tanker; luckily, a friend reportedly once gave him the small frequency radio in case he ever got lost at sea.
But even his rescue was a challenge due to rough seas. Adilang reportedly was forced to jump into the water to reach a line from the ship.
After rescuing him, the captain contacted the U.S. Coast Guard on Guam, and as the ship was headed to Japan, it was decided the teen would be handed over to consulate officials in Tokuyama, which happened on September 6.
He managed to send a radio frequency to the tanker; luckily, a friend reportedly once gave him the small frequency radio in case he ever got lost at sea.
Adilang was taken to Japan for treatment and finally reunited with family in Wori, Manado, earlier this month, The Jakarta Post said.
See the amazing rescue in the video below.