Three Teenagers Rescued after Drifting in Pacific for 50 Days

Three teenagers from the Tokelau islands disappeared on October 5 while rowing in the Pacific. After an extensive search by the New Zealand air force, the boys' families held memorial services. Yesterday, they were found alive by a fishing boat.

It's a Thanksgiving miracle! I mean, if Kiwis or Tokelauans celebrated Thanksgiving, it would be. Fifteen-year-olds Samuel Pelesa and Filo Filo and 14-year-old Edward Nasau had been trying to row between two of the atolls that comprise Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, when they drifted off course and disappeared. After weeks of fruitless searches, they were given up for dead.

And then they turned up in their tiny aluminum boat, somewhere northeast of Fiji. They had survived for 50 days on fish, rainwater, and a single seagull that had landed in their boat. Good timing on the rescue too: They had begun to drink seawater as it hadn't rained for a few days.

The boys were spotted by a New Zealand fishing boat—the San Nikunau—which was taking a shortcut as it headed home:

"We saw this craft floating on the horizon and it's normal to check on them," [First Mate Tai] Fredricsen said.

"So we went over and yelled out, 'Are you okay?' As we got closer, we realised they weren't. They were over the moon to see us."

Mr Fredricsen said the boys started waving frantically as the crew got to within 1.5km of their small boat.

The crew fed them fruit and water in small portions, and treated their sun-exposed skin. Fredricsen called one of the boys' grandmothers and let her know the good news. The boat is due to hit New Zealand on Sunday.

[New Zealand HeraldM]