Rescued Indonesian teenager recounts 49 days sojourn at sea

Indonesia on map used to illustrate the story

An Indonesian teenager who was rescued after drifting at sea for 49 days recounted being chased by a shark and drinking his own sweat while his travails lasted.

Aldi Novel Adilang was working on a wooden fish trap 125 kilometres off the coast of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province when the raft came loose from the seabed because of a storm in July.

He was rescued on August 13 in waters off the U.S. territory of Guam by the Panamanian-flagged vessel, MV Arpeggio.

Aldi, 19, said in an interview with news website on Wednesday that he survived by eating fish, drinking rain water and even his own sweat.

He said “there was a stove, some prepared fish and bottled water in the raft, known locally as rompong, but soon the food and water ran out.

“When there was no rain, I squeezed my wet shirt and drank the water, including my sweat.

“There was a shark following the raft.”

He said there were about 10 ships that passed near him before he was rescued, but his cries for help went unnoticed.

“Then there was a ship travelling from Australia for Japan. I cried ‘Help! Help! and waved a cloth,’’ he said.

Aldi returned to his hometown of North Minahasa Manado on Sulawesi Island and was reunited with his family on September 8.


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