How this Indonesian Teen Survived 49 Days Drifting at Sea

After spending 49 days in the middle of the sea, 19-year old Aldi Novel Adilang was rescued by a Panama-flagged vessel Arpeggio on August 31st.

According to The Jakarta Post, problem started for Adilang after the floating hut (called a rompong) lost its mooring due to strong winds on July 14th, making him drift across the Pacific ocean for nearly two months.

Because the rompong is technically not a boat, it had no engine or any equipment to paddle it to shore. A romping is a fish aggregator device shaped like a modest hut used to attract fish.

Adilang had only about a week supply of food and other necessary things. He had been contracted by a businessman to work at the rompong for 6 months. The business owner would send someone to deliver his supplies every week and also retrieve the captured fish – the only time he has any human contact.

Adilang was hired to light lamps around the rompong at night.

Adilang stretched his one-week supplies for 49 days.

“After he ran out of the cooking gas, he burned the rompong’s wooden fences to make a fire for cooking. He drank by sipping water from his clothes that had been wetted by sea water,” The Indonesian consul general in Osaka, Mirza Nurhidayat, who oversaw the return of Aldi after his rescue.

Another diplomat Fajar Firdaus added: “Aldi said he had been scared and often cried while adrift. 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.”

Adilang saw the Arppegio vessel, he tuned his radio to a frequency a friend of his had once told him to use in case he is blown away and sees a large ship.

“Fortunately, the ship’s captain caught the signal. Realising [there was someone pleading for help], he turned around,” Mirza said.

Because the waves were really high, the vessel could not come close Adilang. The crew eventually threw a rope to him after going round the rompong four times.

“Aldi then decided to jump into the sea to grab the rope, while the waves and wind rocked him,” Fajar said.

Adilang on board the Arppegio

The crew brought Adilang to Tokuyama, Japan on September 6th. The same day, Japanese authorities contacted Indonesian authorities. After one day of health checks, Adilang as able to enter Japan, and one day later, he was on a plane to his country.

He’s been reunited with his family in Manado, Indonesian.

Adilang (M, white shirt) reunited with his family

Watch a video on his story below:

 

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