November 25th, 2010
09:08 AM ET

Boys found alive after 50 days at sea

For three boys from the Tokelau Islands the word miracle has a whole new meaning.

After going missing following a sporting event in October, and after several unsuccessful searches by New Zealand's air force, they were presumed dead. About 500 people on the island held a memorial service for them.

But for Samuel Perez and Filo Filo, both 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, this story ended in the most unbelievable way - being rescued by a tuna ship near Fiji after 50 days at sea.

Since October 5, the three survived with limited supply. They shared a single raw seagull and drank a tiny bit of rainwater. They eventually resorted to drinking small amounts of sea water, Australia's Herald Sun reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, their saga finally came to an end when the tuna boat, the San Nikunau, saw their small aluminum boat floating in the middle of open waters. They were and 750 nautical miles (1,300 km) away from where they went missing.

'We got to them in a miracle," the first mate, Tai Fredricsen, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"They were in reasonably good spirits for how long they'd been adrift," Fredricsen told the Herald Sun. "They were very badly sunburnt. They were in the open during the day up in the tropics there. But really they just needed basic first aid."

Call it a miracle, or call it luck, but for these boys, it was a rescue that might not have happened if not for chance.

The tuna boat was fishing far from where it usually does, the crew told the Herald Sun. It was taking a shortcut home to New Zealand when it stumbled upon the boys.

The boys were being checked at a hospital but were ecstatic to finally be able to speak by phone to their families.

"They've got a lot of gusto, a lot of strong mental spirit," Fredricsen told the Morning Herald. "Physically they are very [distraught] but mentally they are very strong."

soundoff (589 Responses)
  1. ChelsE

    This is a great story! Its wonderful these parents will be able to be with their children again. It was a miracle they were found. 😉 yup... a MIRACLE.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Him

    Ask the people who have been praying for the safe return of the boys who they think gets the Glory

    November 25, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      Ask the owner's of Wal-Mart if it's a good idea to shop there.

      Ask a military recruiter if you should join the military.

      Ask someone with a one-side closed minded biased view on something if their view is correct.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    Thank you Jesus!

    November 25, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Haha your Jesus was a little cry baby as i got ready to nail him to that cross, he cried to me saying he would call me god and profess his belief in me as the true god, but his whining just pushed me over the edge

      November 25, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thor

    Worship me you fools, I am the God with the hammer ! your Jesus was nailed to that cross ! any questions ???

    November 25, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • james

      just one ? why does your caretaker let you play with a computer?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Curt James

    Very happy to read the boy were rescued. Happy Thanksgivibg to Samuel Perez, Filo Filo, and Edward Nasau! Lots to be grateful for.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. why?

    Mr J. Bowen I noticed in one of your comments you mention Isaiah 40:28 and then make mention of Jehovah? that is very clever of you to "disguise" yourself as a Jehovah's Witness. by your actions I know that you are NOT a Jehovah's Witness. Please read 2 Timothy 2:24-25 as a case in point.

    "But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil,  instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed; as perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth"

    November 25, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Phyl

    contrary to popular belief the world does exist outside of the USA, not every country celebrates thanksgiving the way the US does. Just be thankful that those boy's had the tenacity to do what was neccessary for them to survive.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Illuminati

    Their will to survive is what kept them going.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. ashlea

    Reading some of the sicko and self-important comments here, what is the point? Can't we all just be thankful that they were rescued?

    November 25, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      Could have been avoided by CNN not using the word "miracle".

      Also, why does anyone, religious or not, always have to invoke their personal faith in comments about a story on a news website?

      So, I guess, no, we can't all get along. Kinda sucks too.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Thank goodness for the only sane comment I have read through mosty of this! I have family from Tokelau.....let us just be thankful to whoever that these boys survived.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JG

    This is great news! What a tale of survival. These are some brave little soldiers.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dustin Shadbolt

    That was an awesome story CNN. I bet the families have something to be thankful for.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PA-Pilot

    I wonder if their parents have already spent their kids' life insurance money. They're going to have to pay it back.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Can I assume that this post was in jest...I hope so because if you knew anything about Tokelau, the people there probably don't even know what life insurance is! The people live a simple but happy life... not tainted by the hypocricy of the 'first world' arogance. The people – these boys' families would just be thankful to have their boys back.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. israel5535

    Did God gave anything to do with the rescue. Who knows? But for u unbelievers in the one and only true God go to youtube username israel5535 and click on "eleven stars twelve stars seven stars in the bible found." pics in video are real and there were two others who witnessed this awesome event. Pics are from negs to prints in matte and the scanned.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brooks

      Stars are formed from huge clouds of dust and gases, mainly hydrogen and helium (which, combined, are called nebula). As the dust and gases swirl around, they break into clumps and contract due to gravitational forces. As the clumps bump each other and collect more dust and gases, they get bigger, and their gravity, which holds the star together, becomes stronger. Since gravity is so strong, the particles become more tightly packed. Once it is hot enough for nuclear fusion to occur, a star is formed.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mario

    They sure have something to ber grateful for!

    November 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. georjetset

    I don't practice religion, and don't believe God (as defined by the Christian faith) created things, but that doesn't stop me from using the word "miracle" when something truly amazing, and unexplained happens. This is a miracle for those boys! ;o) Happy for them, and for all of us. Happy Holiday's

    November 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      some sanity at last, thank you!

      November 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18