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. Anne S.

    Thank goodness these boys were found alive. Always good to read a story like this. Too bad with some of you that you can't put your differences aside, and just be thankful for the rescue. For non-believers someday you will find out that there is a God, but He will forgive you for your ignorance. Too the believers we rejoice in the Lord for his intervention by sending the tuna boat, as we know it was the work of the Lord.

    November 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stacey

      Oh how sad are you, poor brainwashed sap holding onto any grasp of hope that there is something out there.

      November 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne S.

      No I am not brainwashed!!! Just guess you've never had a miracle happen to you in your life, like I've had in mine. You are the brainwashed one. There is a Supreme Being, maybe his name isn't God, Lord, Allah or etc. The Holy Bible that has been handed down through the ages tells us a Man who died for our sins. I'm not a fanatic on religion, but you are sadly mistaken when you can't believe in something. But guess you will find out in the end when you reach the pearly gates. I won't say anything more. Amen

      November 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      See, this is the type of thing that really ticks off us athiests. Stop shoveling this crap in our direction, we don't want to hear it anymore. Even if there is a god, he isn't a nice guy, he's a complete jerk as a matter of fact, so I definitely would not want to worship a being as evil as he is if he existed. He does not exist, so I'm not terribly worried about what happens when I die thanks.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. Non

      IF there is a god, he is a fat slob, stuffing himself with junk food and and beers, lying on a couch with a remote, flicking between planet and planet looking for the most sensational shows on. If god truly created you in his image, that's what he is.

      November 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      You're right, Anne S. They are only atheists because they have never seen a miracle. They must feel taller by stepping on others' beliefs. Such childish, hating behavior is only more reason to feel sorry for them. They would have us all be puppets on strings, making no decisions on our own, in order to prove to their satisfaction the existence of a higher power. I live in the U.S.A. where my right to worship as I choose is protected. Evidently, they do not believe in that either.

      November 26, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stacey

    Well at least CNN correctly identified the ethnicity of these boys. Other news agents think they're kiwis when it was kiwis who found them

    November 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. De

    Really good Thanksgiving story. I bet those teenagers are mighty Thankful to God and the Tuna boat skipper tonight. Really it is a miracle they survived after 50 days on open sea. Amazing story.

    November 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joel

    God exist. By His grace they survived. for PROOF JESUS CHRIST IS real

    November 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rina

    I'm a nonbeliever a lot of times. It wasn't meant to be mean, I'm talking about people that have so much hatred within themselves
    . Settle down all, it's thanksgiving.

    November 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. your mom

    ok so they are alive next you see them in north korea get those kids to jail!!!

    November 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fluffles

    So how long do we want to bet before this story is made into a movie?

    November 25, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Al Stefanelli

    A miracle? Really? Now, if these guys had sprouted wings and flew their asses back to land, that would have been a miracle. Fifty days lost at sea? I don't think so...

    November 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      You try it

      November 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gerry

    Sarah Palin found them..she could see them from her mountain retreat in Alaska while she was watching her allies from North Korea attack the South. It is so sad when it shows how really stupid the average american really is when a person that could have become VP knows nothing.(where does that leave the rest of you pathetic people that call yourselves americans). Hill billies and hicks.

    November 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CaptAlex

    I have a hard time believing that adults, with a reasonable education need to resort to this kind of name calling & bigotry in the 20th Century. Please, STFU and get a life. How sad that ya'll are spending today of all days cranky! do you ever really read what you are writing?
    I'm grateful the young men are safe.

    November 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eumir

      It's ok CaptAlex... they make medication for those types of mood disorders.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      Actually, it's the 21st century.

      November 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Thank goodness for your calm reason. Hope they all read your comment.

      November 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Muhammad Ali

    Allah helps the non believers and the believers alike for he is most giving and most caring.. People, please try to come together to a common ground so we can all learn to love each other and wish the best for each other and hopefully one day we'll all meet in heaven when we follow our instinct and believe in the true power that helps all and guides all to the truth and the true God does not need a specific name, it is only out of respect and glorifying that we call him his good names ( Allah, God, Lord, The one and only..etc) Please try to be positive when commenting so we can have a constructive conversation.. Thanks to ALL.

    November 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wen

    Glad they are safe..Happy thanksgiving!!

    November 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel Bell

    It doesn't take long to start a religious war around here... Why don't you dispense with the religious nonsense and have a conversation about the boys and how they survived.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mizh

    Quite a story. I'm sure their families are over the moon.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oneforall777

    You see, it's like this. You either believe there is a creator or you don't. The people who don't believe in a creator live as though man is the highest power in the univese, fine. But when push comes to shove, and historically speaking, almost everyone who has ever been in a critical situation where there is a life and death situation being faced, has, ultimately talked to 'God' – why is that I wonder? I suppose unless you've been there, you don't really understand it. Is it instinct? Is it knowledge that there is indeed something greater than us that has indeed created us and will help us out if we ask? All of us must die a physical death sometime, somewhere. These kids were meant to surive, who knows the reason. But please don't knock the people who believe there is a God, a creator, they just might know something......and who knows, you might too one day. Stay positive!

    November 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gumby

      Christian, lying.

      November 25, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • LilyS

      totally agree with you, oneforall777!

      November 27, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
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