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A teenager survived 49 days at sea after a storm ripped his tiny vessel from its moorings and set him adrift into the Pacific Ocean.
Aldi Novel Adilang recounted being circled by a shark during his 1,600-mile journey from Indonesia. He was rescued earlier this month near the U.S. island territory of Guam, officials said. He ate fish and read his Bible daily during the ordeal.
Adilang was later reunited with his family at their remote coastal village after being brought to Japan, where he recuperated with the help of consular officials.
“Aldi said he had been scared and often cried while adrift,” Fajar Firdaus, a diplomat at the Indonesian consulate in Osaka, told the Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Even before his odyssey began, the 19-year-old already had a lonely job as the solitary worker on a rompong — a floating fish trap with a tiny wooden hut equipped with a gas stove, cooking utensils and a generator.
Aldi Novel Adilang’s fishing trap.Indonesian Consulate General Osaka/Facebook
Aldi was contracted by the rompong’s owner to light lamps around it nightly for six months in order to attract fish. Each week, the owner would send someone to collect the fish and replenish supplies of food, fuel and drinking water.
On July 14, a storm snapped the rope that anchored the rompong to the sea floor off the coast of Manado, in far northeast Indonesia — some 1,300 miles from the capital, Jakarta.
Aldi went unnoticed by passing ships despite waving his clothes and flashing the lamps.
He wasn’t found until Aug. 31 when he was spotted in waters off Guam by a Panama-registered bulk freighter, MV Arpeggio, which was heading for Japan, the consulate said in a Facebook post.
“Every time he saw a large ship, he said he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him, none of them stopped or saw Aldi,” Fajar told the Jakarta Post.
Source: NBC News