Teenager Survives 49 Days at Sea Adrift in a Fishing Hut

An Indonesian teenager has survived a harrowing journey at sea after spending 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean. The young man was rescued a few weeks back after spending more than a month and a half aboard a fishing hut that had come loose from its moorings and was blown out to open waters during a massive storm.

19-year old Aldi Novel Adilang already led a fairly secluded life even before he was sent drifting into the ocean. The young man’s job was to maintain a fishing trap located 125 km (77 miles) off the Indonesian coast. That meant that he lived in a small floating hut, which was anchored in place. While there, he would see another human just once a week and could communicate back to shore using only a walkie-talkie. It was a way to earn a living, even if the conditions were not particularly great.

On July 14, a storm blew through breaking the anchor that held his little hut in place and sending him adrift on the ocean. He spent the next several weeks fighting to survive, with only a week’s worth of food and fuel to keep him going. Knowing that those supplies wouldn’t last long, the young man set about catching fish for his meals and collecting a bit of water from his own clothing, which helped to filter out some of the salt from the ocean.

Over the course of his time at sea, at least ten ships passed him on the water, but none stopped to help. Most probably didn’t even notice his tiny fishing hut, which was just a speck out on the water. On August 31, a ship called the Arpeggio spotted him at long last however and stopped to render aid. By that point, he had sailed thousands of kilometers and had entered the waters off Guam, and was weak from exhaustion and a lack of food. The rescue was made all the more difficult by rough seas, but eventually they were able to haul Adilang in.

You can read the entire story here and it is definitely worth a look. It’s quite a tale and Aldi is lucky to be alive. That said, he was smart, resourceful, and determined, which served him well while he waited for rescue.

Kraig Becker