Teen survives 49 days at sea on floating fishing shack

An Indonesian teen miraculously survived for close to 50 days while floating adrift on a flimsy shack in shark-infested ocean waters, according to reports.

Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, had the lonely job of manning a floating fish trap 80 miles off the coast of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi, when strong winds ripped the hut from its mooring in July and sent it floating into the Pacific Ocean.

“Aldi said he had been scared and often cried while adrift,” Fajar Firdhaus, a diplomat at the Indonesian consulate in Osaka, told the Jakarta Post on Sunday.

The raft the young man was stranded on is called a rompong. The teen had been contracted for six months to light lamps around the hut with a power generator nightly to attract fish. Every week, the owner would send someone to collect the fish in the trap and drop off a week’s worth of food and fuel.

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

Every time he saw a ship passing by, the teen’s hopes lifted — but more than 10 vessels sailed right passed him without seeing him, officials said. He cried while thinking of his family, fearing he would never see them again.

At one point during his 1,600-mile odyssey, the young man was circled by a shark, but all he could do was pray it would go away, he told the TribunManado news site. He ate fish and read his bible daily.

Finally, on Aug. 31 the bulk carrier Arpeggio caught a signal from the teen’s radio while passing him in the waters off Guam. He was taken aboard and given food and a haircut.

The boat docked in Japan on Sept. 6 and the teen eventually returned home on Sept. 9 in good health, officials said.

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