Boys adrift at sea had lost hope

Boys adrift at sea had lost hope

Edward Nasau lies on a bed in a hospital in Suva, Fiji. AP

Etueni Nasau and his two cousins almost gave up hope they would survive as they bobbed in their aluminum dinghy across the South Pacific for more than seven weeks, before a fishing trawler spotted them and brought an end to their extraordinary ordeal.
“I thank God for keeping us alive all this while,” said Nasau, 14. “We prayed every day that someone will find us and rescue us. We thought we would die.”

Nasau spoke on Saturday from his hospital bed in Fiji, where the trio were treated for dehydration, bad sunburn and malnourishment.

Nasau, also known and Edward, and his two 15-year-old cousins, Samuel Pelesa and Filo Filo, jumped into the 12-foot long boat sometime in late September to make what they thought was a short journey between islands in their archipelago home of Tokelau.

But they ran out of fuel and began drifting out to sea. As land retreated from sight, they contemplated the handful of coconuts they had brought with them to snack on.

Rainwater and fish

On many nights, rainstorms churned the sea and lashed the boat. The boys threw themselves to the bottom of the boat, clutching the sides and trying to keep it from capsizing. Though terrifying, the storms also brought a lifeline: puddles of rainwater for them to sip.

They ran out of food all too quickly, and feared starvation. The sea provided meagre pickings in the form of fish that leaped out of the water and sometimes landed in the boat.

Once, a bird perched on the boat and Pelesa managed to snatch it with his bare hands. The hungry boys tore at the bird and shared the meat, raw.

Last Wednesday, at least 55 days into the boys’ ordeal, the deep-sea tuna boat San Nikuna came into view. The crew were amazed to see a small boat out so far and in a region rarely used by any vessels. They were even more stunned to see the bedraggled boys frantically waving for help.

News of the boys’ survival was greeted as a miracle in Tokelau, an archipelago north of Samoa. The boys were given up for dead after an official search ended with no success.

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