An Indonesian teenager has incredibly survived 49 days drifting out at sea after the fishing hut he was on became unanchored.
Aldi Novel Adilang worked on a fishing hut that was anchored 125km (77 miles) off the Indonesian coast. The hut is known as a ‘rompong’; a floating fish trap without any paddles or engine.
Every week, someone would come to collect the fish that had been caught and bring Aldi supplies.
It was Aldi’s job to light the rompong’s lamps, which are designed to attract fish. The hut was anchored to the sea floor by ropes, but heavy winds on July 14 caused the ropes to snap, and the hut came loose with Aldi still on board.
Watch the incredible rescue here:
The 19-year-old from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi only had limited supplies when the boat began to float away from its mooring spot.
In order to survive, Aldi drank sea water through his clothes to ensure he didn’t take in too much salt. He also managed to catch fish, which he cooked by burning the wooden posts of the rompong.
Aldi passed several ships while he was stranded at sea, but devastatingly more than 10 of them failed to see the teenager.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat in Osaka, Japan, said:
[He] said he had been scared and often cried while adrift.
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 [him].
On August 31, when the fishing hut had floated near Guam, Aldi saw another ship, the MV Arpeggio. His rompong had a radio which he used to send an emergency signal to the passing vessel in the hopes that someone would pick it up.
Thankfully, the Panamanian vessel saw Aldi and came to his rescue. The ship tried to approach the wooden hut, but big waves prevented it from getting too close to the teenager.
Eventually the crew threw a rope for Aldi to catch, but it didn’t reach the rompong. Aldi decided to jump for the rope.
Aldi then decided to jump into the sea to grab the rope, while the waves and wind rocked him.
The ship’s crew managed to catch his hand.
The captain of the ship contacted the coastguard, who then instructed the crew to take Aldi to Japan.
The Indonesian Consulate shared Aldi’s story on Facebook, writing (translated):
Aldi Novel Adilang (19 years), in a light guard in rompong (a raft house in the ocean) drifted away in mid-July 2018 to Guam waters. Aldi was discovered by a Panama-flagged vessel, M.V. Arpeggio, on August 31, 2018.
The Osaka Consulate General picked up Aldi on September 6, 2018 in Japan after the ship ensured Aldi was in good condition and got permission for him to return to Indonesia from the Japanese immigration authority.
Currently Aldi has gathered with his family in Wori, Manado, and is in good health.
The Indonesian Consulate in Osaka would like to thank the parties who have helped the rescue process until Aldi’s return safely to the country.
KJRI OSAKA BANTU KEPULANGAN ALDI YANG HANYUT DI PERAIRAN GUAMSdr. Aldi Novel Adilang (19 thn), penjaga lampu di…
Aldi did an incredible job in managing to face the horrific situation he was in and survive.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.