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Teenager Survived 49 Days Lost At Sea With Just A Boat And A Bible

Indonesian Consulate General Osaka

A teenager who spent almost two months alone at sea has shared his incredible true story.

But it's obvious from his tale that Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, is no ordinary teenager.

He was working on a floating fish lure called a rompong off the coast of Manado, Indonesia, when his harrowing story began.

A Lonely Job

A rompong is a mix between a boat and a hut, which has fish traps hanging below it and a tether line anchoring it in place.

Adilang worked and lived by himself on a raft about 75 miles off the coast of Indonesia, manning lights each night to attract swarms of fish.

Each week, another worker would arrive with clean clothes, food and water, and cooking gas for Adilang.

But in July, a powerful storm broke the anchor holding the raft in place, sending Adilang drifting into the open sea, with no engines or paddles to steer the raft.

Lost at sea
Adilang drifted from Manado in Northern Indonesia to waters off the coast of Guam.Google Maps

Over the next 49 days, Adilang would travel almost 1,600 miles across the ocean, surviving only on his wits and the few supplies he had on board the rompong.

He had just a few days worth of food, water, and cooking gas, plus a small emergency radio, and a bible, which proved to be one of the most useful tools on board during Adilang's long journey.

Next To No Supplies

To stay alive, Adilang quickly fell into a desperate routine.

He used the rompong's supplies to fish for food in the morning, and sucked filtered seawater water out of his clothes to stay hydrated.

In the afternoons, Adilang read his bible for comfort and distraction.

When the cooking gas ran out, he tore the fences off his raft and burned them to cook and keep warm.

Adilang even managed to build a rough shower out of bamboo poles.

Shark
A shark menaced Adilang during his time at sea.Pixabay

"Aldi said he had been scared and often cried while adrift," a Indonesian consulate staff member later said about his time at sea.

The teen even had a run-in with a shark in open waters, and lived to tell the tale.

"I could only pray that the shark went away," he was quoted as saying.

A Desperate Rescue

Adilang's bad luck finally broke in late August, when he was able to capture the attention of a passing ship.

While "at least 10" other ships had passed close to him before, Adilang's lights, shouts, and waving clothes couldn't capture their attention.

He had already drifted nearly to Guam when a freighter from Panama passed by, and Adilang remembered an emergency radio frequency his friend had taught him back in Indonesia.

The ship had already passed Adilang's raft, but returned to pick him up after hearing his signal.

Lost at Sea
A smiling Adilang (right) poses with one of the consulate staff.Indonesian Consulate General Osaka

On board, the crew quickly comforted the teenager with a towel and snacks, and the ship's cook even gave him a much-needed haircut.

Officials from the Indonesian consulate in Japan say Adilang is healthy, and has already been reunited with his family.

"Aldi’s story is indeed dramatic," said one of the consulate's diplomats, "and we are thankful to all — the ship’s captain and the Japanese authorities — that have been very helpful in ensuring Aldi’s return."

[H/T: BuzzFeed News, NBC, Jakarta Post]

How long do you think you could have survived in Aldi's place?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com