Boy on Raft Survives 49 Days at Sea with only a Bible on Board

An Indonesian teenager, who worked on a floating fish trap 80 miles off the country’s coast, survived 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean with only a Bible, limited rations and a small radio, reports said Monday.

Strong winds during a July storm reportedly snapped the lines keeping Aldi Novel Adilang, a 19-year-old lamp keeper, moored in place. He was helpless and floated off without even a paddle.

“Aldi said he had been scared and often cried when adrift. Every time he saw a large ship, he said he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had passed him, none of them stopped,” Fajar Firdaus, a diplomat, said, according to reports.


Aldi Novel Adilang seen shortly after being rescued.  (INDONESIAN CONSULATE GENERAL, OSAKA)

Aldi managed to catch fish and drink sea water through clothing in order to filter out some of the salt, The Telegraph reported.

He said through a diplomat that it was frustrating seeing ships in the distance and being unable to get their crews’ attention. He said in an interview that he thought he was going to die, and considered suicide. The Guardian reported that in his darkest times, he consulted the Bible.

He was rescued in late August near Guam, after managing to send a radio frequency to a tanker named Arpeggio on Aug. 31. A friend reportedly once gave him the small frequency radio in the event he gets lost at sea.

But The Telegraph reported that even his rescue was a challenge due to rough waves. Adilang was reportedly forced to jump into the water to reach a line from the ship.

He was taken to Japan for treatment, and reunited with family earlier this month, reports said.