Indonesian teenager rescued after surviving 49 days adrift at sea

Indonesian teenager rescued after surviving 49 days adrift at sea

When it didn't rain for days, "I had to soak my clothes in the sea, then I squeezed and drank the water".

Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, was working as a lamp keeper for the floating fish trap, which was anchored 125km off the North Sulawesi coast.

Every week, the owner would send someone to harvest the fish in the trap and give Mr Aldi a week's worth of supplies: food, gas for cooking, clean water and fuel for the generator.

One of the biggest challenges of Aldi Novel Adilang's job was supposed to be boredom, as the sole caretaker of a wooden fishing hut miles out at sea.

Adilang was then set adrift, carried over 1,500 miles by the tides until he was rescued off the coast of the USA territory of Guam.

An Indonesian teenager who survived 49 days on the ocean after his wooden hut was pushed out to sea by strong winds has been reunited with his family.

Aldi Novel Adilang told The Associated Press on Monday that he turned on a lamp every time he sighted another ship and can't remember how many passed by "unaware of my ordeal".

Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, was plucked from the ocean by a cargo ship near the United States territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean on 31 August.

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Adilang's mother Met Kahiking said they were told about their son's fate by his boss, and "just surrendered to God and kept praying hard". "Might be because I used the English word", he said, adding he used a hand-held radio to communicate with the boat. It was the third time the teen's raft had drifted.

His hopes of rescue were dashed repeatedly when 10 passing ships failed to come to his aid, Indonesian diplomats said.

He said he cried while thinking about his family because he thought he would never see them again.

"It was early morning on August 31 when I saw the ship and I lighted up the lamp and shouted "help" using the HT", he said. It took four passes for the ship to get close enough to extract Aldi without endangering the wooden raft.

The MV Arpeggio, which rescued Adilang off Guam, contacted the Indonesian mission in Osaka when it docked and officials collected him on September 6, the Osaka consulate said in a statement.

Rompongs are a traditional form of trapping fish in Indonesia, but are often unmanned, secured by buoys and ropes. He returned to Indonesia on September 8.

"My parents agree", he said.

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