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. HasBetterThingsToDoThanPostonCNN..waitwhat?

    Great story, inspiring on many levels. Those who feel this was a miracle so be it. It is your right to think what ever you want. Those of you who can't help but rebuke and try to intellectualize one's personal faith this is your right as well but... get a life. The only person who appreciates looking at your judgments of another's faith is yourself..but then again, I guess that is what drives such comments. It's ok, we get it, you can't stand the fact that anyone would believe in a higher power and choose to find solace and inspiration in such...we got it a long time ago, your continued compulsion to provide your "intellectual" judgmental comments says so much more about you than those you judge.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      Ahhh, tell the non religious to get a life, but tell the religious it's ok, it's your right.

      Gee, I wonder which side your on.....

      Get your own life, I'm stuck in Ft Eustis Virginia with no family or friends and nothing else to do today.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. israel5535

    I meant to say "did God have anything to do with the rescue." its difficult to type with these new small phones.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      they survived on each other's fluids. (whiz and jhiz)

      November 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GG1000

    If there were an all-powerful God that got involved in these things, why would he/she trap 3 teenaged boys on a boat for 50 days? It was good fortune, not a supernatural miracle.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Great Miracle

      That's where you're wrong GG1000. It is because God is Almighty that He will allow things like this to happen and Save those who venture out (remember the Chilean miners?), to bring full Glory to His most Holy Name! To those un-Believers, just take a good look at yourselves and try to imagine who created you if not God who has insurmountable, omniscient Power above all powers!

      November 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kelley j

    it disappoints me that not one posting here speaks of how this incredible story unfolded! The stories of both the boys and the crew of the rescue boat,leading up to rescue and after. I want to hear their famile's stories of how they have dealt with the Whole ordeal from day One. A Wonderful and compelling story I look forward to hearing!! Just a Great Story-kelleyj

    November 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Really

    Come on people, let's face it, when it's over it's simply lights out. Now let's get on and celebrate and be thankful for eradicating/assimilating an entire civilization so WASP's could prosper.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Don Solo


    November 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      No, I saw him in Wal-Mart, and I can attest to the fact the he SPENDS. Of course he pronounced it he-sus, and he was buying groceries for like a dozen kids............

      November 25, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tbird

    If God saved these boys, why didn't he save my mom and my father-in-law from cancer? Why didn't he stop 9/11? Why didn't he stop the murder of millions of Jews? Or the genocide of Native Americans? Or the thousands of people who die every day from war, accidents, disease, etc? I don't fault religious people for being brainwashed (just like kids who believe in Santa and his flying reindeer), but I do wish they would consider why it isn't better to live a good and honest life just for the sake of it and not because a book tells them to or because they are told the alternative is hell. At the very least, one has to admit that adherence to religious doctrine causes death and other social problems - for example, the Catholic church's stance against condoms and the spread of HIV as a direct result. Only now is the church beginning to "see the way" and loosen its restrictions - and not because God told it to but because society is realizing how injurious the religious doctrine has been. Can't we just be good for goodness' sake? Peace.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Be Thankful

      tbird, People must not blame God for everything that happens in their life that does not go their way. When "miracles" don't appear to happen, it is due to man, not God. God is a very Loving Spiritual being who created each and every one of us and gave us the air we breathe and the animals we eat, etc. something virtually no one else can do and that is a known fact. When people do not heal it is because on some level they either do not wish to heal or it is their appointed time to go. And you must also remember that passing on from this life is also a great 'healing' for many.

      God allows things to happen because people bring things on to themselves due to their own free will. He cannot always rescue them. The person who got sick may have had deep-seated anger issues that affected their body and that anger became 'seeded' in some organ and became localized and their faith was not so strong as to reach out to God for a healing, thus, they left this earth. But God's compassion is so great that if you look around at the beauty of people and what you have, starting with your very life (if you take care of it which is YOUR obligation), you have much to be thankful to God for. So don't blame God for things that don't happen, your shortcomings, or healing that does not occur. People bring those things unto themselves, not God. And there are great consequences to people's actions as well.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sssimon

    Drinking a little bit of sea water would do you more good than harm. You would need to replace all the salts you were losing by sweating in the hot sun everyday. Sea water also contains trace elements of, well, every element. I'm just not sure of what the safe amount would be before you start using up more water than you are taking in to expel the excess salt.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      wrong again scientist

      November 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joh \n ventura

    This doesnt make since to anybody? These boys were on the lost island the entire time! Hurley and Ben told them to make up this story...remember when the oceanic 6 had to lie? They were on the Island!

    November 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kpeterson

    No matter if the story is true or not...I think it's silly that people on here are debating the saving of two human beings. If its been 1, 5, 10 or 20 days I'm still happy that they are safe and their family no longer has to mourn their lost. Come on people we are better than this! Show a little bit of respect and compassion towards something. Be thankful!

    November 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Russell Smith

    GET A GRIP It is a MIRACLE.. A miracle is an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention.
    You cannot put scientific fact on those events...

    November 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      Right On! Rusty... You sound like the kind of guy I'd like to hunt endangered species with...from a helicopter of course...

      November 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russell Smith

      Sarah Very interesting comment. There has to be a hidden meaning to this. I like your logic.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russell Smith

      Sarah How did you know my Nick name??????

      November 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      If your name was Richard – I'd know your nickname as well....

      November 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Scotchaloti

    The greatest part of this religous debate is that these boys, like most people in the world, are probably not christians. Most people who say thank god, dont really live a spiritual life at all.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stroke Hardwood

    How do you survive 50 days basically with no food and water? I don't get it.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get It

      But God sure gets it, Stroke. Each and every situation is unique unto itself with merits or demerits. And God will act accordingly unto each different situation with great compassion but also to teach hard lessons through "tough love" to those who need to be taught those lessons.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TheBossIsOut

    So some guy comes up with this idea on how to make a lot of cash. Convince two kids to partake in the plan and they will be paid handsomely afterward. Balloon Boy anyone?

    November 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheBossIsOut

    Please people, calm down. You are so gullible to believe everything without checking into the evidence. For all we know it's just another Balloon Boy story waiting to burst.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
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