Indonesian teenager survives 49 days adrift at sea in fishing hut


But it was on July 14 when strong winds broke the mooring and pushed him thousands of kilometers away from home to Guam waters.

Aldi Novel Adilang, a 19-year-old from Sulawesi, worked as a lamp keeper on a floating fish trap, known locally as rompong, located 125km out at sea. As a lamp keeper, his job was to light the vessel's lamps, which are created to attract fish.

The teen's father, Alfian Adilang, said the family is overjoyed at his return but angry with his employer.

"Aldi said he had been scared and often cried when adrift", said Fajar Firdaus, a diplomat based in the Japanese city of Osaka. When the mooring snapped, Adilang only had a few days' worth of food, fuel and clean water.

He would spend the next seven weeks fighting for his life, surviving only on fish he caught and sea water he filtered through his clothes.

The trap, which is shaped like a hut, floats in the middle of the sea but is anchored to the seabed by ropes.

"After he ran out of the cooking gas, he burned the rompong's wooden fences to make a fire for cooking", he told The Jakarta Post.

While out at sea, Aldi wasn't sure if anyone would rescue him, as 10 passing ships failed to spot him.

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Every time he saw a ship passing by, the teen's hopes lifted - but more than 10 vessels sailed right passed him without seeing him, officials said. It was hard getting him on the vessel, but once the teenager was safely on board, the crew fed him and gave him water. "He drank by sipping water from his clothes", said Mirza Nurhidayat, the Indonesian consul general in Osaka.

After being picked up in waters near Guam, Mr Aldi was landed in Japan.

Mr Adilang arrived in Japan on 6 September and flew back to Indonesia two days later, where he has now been reunited with his family.

Aldi told local media he developed a routine of catching fish in the mornings and reading his Bible in the afternoons, and made a makeshift shower using sticks of bamboo.

After arriving at the Japanese port of Tokuyama on September 6, Aldi had to spend another night on the cargo vessel.

According to Fox News, as the days went on, Adilang's hope began to waver, and in his darkest moments he even thought of suicide.

According to a statement from the Indonesian Consulate General in Osaka's Facebook page, the coastal guard told the crew to take Aldi to Japan, the final destination of the carrier.