Indonesian teen miraculously survives 49 days adrift at sea in floating fishing hut

Olivia Tobin

A teenager has miraculously survived 49 days adrift at sea in a fishing hut.

Aldi Novel Adilang, from Sulawesi, was adrift in the sea after his mooring cable was snapped by heavy winds in July.

The 19-year-old had been working 125km out at sea at a lampkeeper on a floating fishing trap before he was sent adrift into the ocean.

Armed only with a few days’ worth of supplies, the teenager said he incredibly survived by catching fish, burning wood from his hut to cook them and drinking seawater through his clothes, to minimise the salt intake.

While marooned, the Indionesian consulate in Osaka said 10 ships sailed passed the Indonesian teenager before a Panamaniam-flagged vessel, MV Arpeggio, finally rescued him in the waters of Guam on August 31.

Mr Adilang’s job had been to light lamps, which were designed to attract fish, and had been employed to do so since he 16, his father said.

He would work in a small, floating wooden hut, which was anchored to the seabed by a long rope and suspended bouys. Every week the teen would be brought fresh supplies of food, water and fuel as someone from his company would come to harvest the fish.

In mid-July, while Mr Adilang was at work, he was hit by heavy winds which snapped the moorings of his hut.

Interviewed by local news portal TribunManado, Mr Adilang said he thought he “was going to die out there”.

He said at his lowest point, he was suicidal and considered jumping into the ocean. But the teen said he remembered his parents’ advice to pray in times of distress and consulted his bible, which was on board.

The teen was also reported to be scared and “cried often”, according to Indonesian diplomat Fajar Firdaus.

More than a month and a half after being lost, Mr Adilang was picked up by MV Arpeggio, although ten ships had sailed passed him.

Mr Firdaus told the Jakarta Post: “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.”

To flag the attention of MV Arpeggio, Mr Adilang waved a cloth, before sending an emergency radio signal.

After rescuing him the captain contacted the Guam coast guard, and as the ship was headed to Japan, it was decided the teenager would be handed over to consulate officials on arrival in Tokuyama on September 6.

Mr Adilang flew home to his family on September 8, accompanied by consulate officials.