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. ramiro

    God bless them and their families

    November 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AL402

    Just another event to prove that the human spirit is indeed indomitable.

    November 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. abby

    Such wonderful news! So happy for them and their families!

    November 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mom

    Reardless of how or why you explain their survival, miracle or not, God ot not, isn't it just cool that they did survive? I bet they and their famlilies don't really care how we all explain it, they are just over the moon that the boys are safe and back at home.

    And I do not understand how you all feel the need to argue all of this each time. You either believe in God or you don't. All your arguing won't change anything or the out come of any story you read here. Move on, live your life and stop getting all worked up. What you believe or don't believe doens't change the facts of a story. The outcome is the same.

    November 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. captain sparkles

    This was gods way of telling them to die.

    November 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scrib1010

    Amazing story and a good read on Thanksgiving. Luckily for them their ordeal was spent in early and mid Spring in the southern hemisphere. If it had happened in the height of Summer, the outcome may have been much different. By the way, Chilean miner lovers, THIS is a story of survival. Nobody was piping food, water, cigarettes, hope, etc. down to them for most of their struggle in earth's extremes.

    November 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. caroline

    I started reading the comments thinking I would find happy, cheerful comments but instead I encountered shameful nonsense ones...
    What a wonderful story for my joyful Thanksgiving day!!! A true inspiration!

    November 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Ya gotta wonder about the 'human' race! I believe in the freedom of speech but REALLY........... some I these posts are really sad! I agree with you.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Evender

    This story will change in the near future... 50 days doesn't seem real.

    November 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. trying2save

    Pefect timing.......The boys should start getting that Turkey cooking for the tuna boat folks...

    November 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. goldendck

    Will power saved them.

    November 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. VegasRage

    Amazing! Simply amazing!

    November 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. donna

    I wish we knew how big the boat was, or how well it was stocked to understand exactly what happened. As it is it sounds more like they went on a trip together, then got caught sailing back home.

    November 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ro vi

    WOW, simply amazing!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cleareye

    Great story. I hope we hear more about these 3 as they grow older.

    November 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GAPeach

    Awesome kids! And a great Thanksgiving story. Why can't the nuts on here skip the religious comments and just be happy for the boys and their families!

    November 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18