Kiwi teens survive 50 days lost at sea

Three New Zealand teenagers believed to have been lost at sea more than a month and a half ago, were found alive aboard their small boat on Wednesday. The boys were described as being physically depleted, having lost a lot of weight and suffering from dehydration, but mentally strong and upbeat.

Samuel Pelesa and Filo Filo, both age 15, along with Edward Nasau, age 14, were lost at sea in early October while attempting to row between two islands in the New Zealand region of Tokelau. When the three boys failed to arrive at their destination, a massive search was conducted, but no sign of the missing teens was ever discovered. 50 days later they were spotted by a tuna boat in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Fiji, more than 800 miles from where they had started.

The lost boys survived by catching fish from the ocean and eating a seagull that landed on their boat. They also caught rainwater to drink, although when they were discovered, they hadn’t had rain for several days, and had resorted to drinking water from the sea, something that contributed to their dehydration.

As you can imagine, the boys’ parents were shocked and relieved to discover that they were alive and in reasonably good condition. When search and rescue teams failed to find the missing teens, a eulogy service was held in their honor. Now, their village of 1500 people located on the Atafu Atoll, are all celebrating their impending return.

The boys are expected to be delivered to a hospital in Fiji today where they’ll receive treatment until their strength returns, at which time they can return home at last.

[Photo credit: Silje L. Bakke via WikiMedia]