Indonesian teen survives alone at sea for 49 days

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
September 27, 2018, 2:56:34 PM EDT

An 18-year-old Indonesian man survived for 49 days at sea after the fishing vessel he was manning slipped its moorings, the Associated Press reported.

On July 14, Aldi Novel Adilang was working as a lamp lighter on a rompong about 78 miles off the coast of the northern Indonesian province of North Sulawesi when a strong wind gust came along and dislodged his vessel.

A rompong is a fishing device shaped like a modest hut that doesn't have an engine, the Jarkata Post reported. The rompong floats in the middle of the sea supported by buoys and is anchored to the seabed by a long rope. However, in this case, the rope had torn.

indonesia teen stranded at sea


Adilang’s job was to light lamps around the rompong in order to attract fish. On the raft were a week's worth of supplies including food, clean water, gas for cooking and fuel for a generator.

This is the third time that his device had drifted away, but during the previous occasions he was rescued by his employer's ship, according to the AP.

“I thought I will never meet my parents again, so I just prayed every day,” Adilang said to the AP, describing his time alone in the middle of the ocean on the raft.

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Adilang said he ran out of his food supply within a week. He survived by eating fish he caught and drinking sea water that he obtained by wringing out his clothes, according to the Post.

While he saw numerous ships while stranded, Adilang said none recognized his cries for help until Aug. 31. Using his walkie-talkie provided to him as part of his fishing work, he was able to find a frequency ships use and communicate to a nearby ship, the Panama-flagged Arpeggio, which was en route to Japan.

Despite rough seas, the crew of the Arpeggio was able to rescue Adilang, who was very weak, in Guam waters, about 1,200 miles from his original location. After docking in Japan on Sept. 6, Adilang was quarantined for several days and questioned by Japan’s coast guard, the Post reported.

Adilang flew back to Indonesia on Sept. 8 and is now back with his family in the city of Manado where he remains in good health.

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