Added by Nigel Shelbourne on November 28, 2010
Three teenage boys managed to stay alive for 50 days in small boat set adrift in the South Pacific Ocean, rescuers say.
The boys, Etueni Nasau, 14, Samu Pelesa, 15, and Filo Filo, 15, from the New Zealand territory Tokelau, were on Thursday found by a New Zealand fishing boat, the San Nikanau, near French territory Wallis and Fortuna.
“It was a miracle we got to them,” said Tai Fredricsen, San Nikanau first mate as the ship, that normally off-loads in American Samoa, does not often travel along this particular route. However, this time “we were following the fastest line to New Zealand,” Fredricsen said.
The boys left their island home on the Atafu atoll on October 6. They were travelling to a nearby island and had brought enough coconuts with them to last for two days. The boys never reached the island; the reason for this is unknown.
The boys managed to stay alive by eating their coconuts, and drinking rain and sea water. They also caught a seagull, which they ate. Fredicsen said: “Somehow they caught a bird, I don’t know how, but they caught it. They ate it, that is what is recommended (in survival manuals).”
The San Nikunau is now sailing to Fiji where the boys can receive medical treatment.