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. TJ

    There is a Supreme Being who some call "God". No one can describe Him. It is best to pay attention to Deist beliefs wherein A Supreme Being created the universe and installed nature to manage and control happenings. It is nature that is responsible for all natural events and it is man in his choice to contest natural forces that contributes to natural calamnities – drilling a hole in the ocean floor; smoking up the cosmos ad infinitum. It is nature that will determine the future and it is the Supreme Being who will write the conclusion of man. Believe and let believe, we will all know the truth after a short sojurn on earth. Bod bless and happy Thanksgiving.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bwp88

    This story is bs. There is no way these guys survived on a seagull and drinking seawater for 50 days.

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

    I have met these boys, have taught them at their school in Tokealu & am married to their uncle. Thank you to all those positive people out their no matter what you "believe" in. To all the others, please do not make this story about yourselves people. It is really is a miracle that these boys are still alive & we are thankful that they get another chance at life to contribute something positive. Everybody makes mistakes, especially children. So please, nobody really cares what you do or don't believe in and we definitely don't want to hear your negative rubbish talk.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThereIsNoGod

      I couldn't care less who you are...first off, God had NOTHING to do with this because there is no God, and second, I don't believe the story...they're just trying to get famous in hopes of getting donations. Three kids, 50 days, a seagull and some sea water. Yeah, ok, whatever. Sell it to some other moron that will believe it. After all, this is CNN, the same news outlet that claimed "We have Bigfoot" only to later discover it was a rubber suit in a freezer. CNN is a joke.

      November 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      To: ThereIsNoGod
      These kids did survive 50 days! Lets get that straight from the start. The fact is they learn to survive from the day they are born. They don't have a Macca's on every street corner or any shop for that matter. They are not pampered spoilt little puppets like those in America, Australia, New Zealand etc etc. Thank God, Allah, Krishna whoever! They are now safe maybe until their family get hold of them but lets be thankful for that alone.

      November 26, 2010 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Valerie


    November 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wabe01

    Nope, there is no God. I alone am responsible for my actions and the results thereof. If you believe differently, fine. But please stop trying to convince me that there is any sane Hand at work in this insane world.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • nostrafatu

      Well said wabe01, If we care for one another we do not need 'Gods' to justify our existence, let Nature take it's course...
      To these boys: Well done you have once again proved the will of man to rise above our limitations through your own mental and physical strength

      November 26, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. God here..listen up!

    Dear is I...GOD. I do exist. I was the seagull that dropped by to see how the boys were doing. This was on day 3. Since they decided to eat me I said screw boys are on your own. Which is why they were out there for 50 days. If they didn't eat me they would have been rescued in 5 days. As for the picture in the article, I'm assuming the middle fella is one of the 15yr olds. Are you sure you're 15 because you look more like 30. You are not going to age well. I'll definitely have something to say about that.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Larry W Jones - Kingwood Kowboy

    A song for the 3 adrift teens:

    Tokelau (Larry W. Jones 10/19/2003) (song#2101)

    I dreamed about Tokelau the other night
    So far away, out of mind and out of sight
    Atafu and Nukunonu
    Fakaofo and Olosenga too

    Little atolls in a wide sea of blue
    Everyone knows everyone it seems
    No wonder, for all of them are few
    But Tokelau is beautiful and free

    And when I dreamed of Tokelau
    One thing I knew for sure
    Adversities could never break their vow
    For island love to endure

    Tokelauans are proud and free
    In the southern seas afar
    Atafu, Nukunonu, Fakaofo and Olosenga
    Are their shining island stars

    I dreamed about Tokelau the other night
    So far away, out of mind and out of sight
    Atafu and Nukunonu
    Fakaofo and Olosenga too

    November 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. marilyn angelena

    Amazingly Awesome. I am sure your family is so excited. Give Thanks.

    This is happy news......

    November 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gerry

    They're not American, what do I care?

    November 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wade N Ginger N Eastman Georgia

    Our Lord Jesus Christ is at work every single day even for you NON-believers.Even though you don't believe in him...He believes in you.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mervyn

    mmm, raw seagull.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank - Canada

    The best indication of the future is the past, so this is what we can expect from God. What about cavemen, do they have a place in heaven too? If so, what are they going to talk/adore about? "Aboo-gaboo-bada"!? If Darwin (theory of evolution) appeared before Jesus, I think there would have been no Jesus. But this is about the boys: they're tough and THEY made it!

    November 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John from NOVA

    First – there IS a God but he made the athiests free to not believe in him...God is not a puppet master He gave man free will to make decisions/choices...yes, man does evil – it's the influence of may say I am simple minded for believing in the Lord but that's your freedom as well. It is sad that the athiests in this world have to work so hard to hate believers and to try to make all references to God disappear from society. They are the ones who have the problem...if their is no God, as they say, why does all this talk of God bother them so? Are they not sure? Are they afraid? They might not be "in control" of their life? Who knows...why God allows some things to happen that are bad and some truly miraculous things to happend on the other's all in His for someone's reference to the Holocaust – God did not turn away and allow it to happen, he allowed it to happen so that Israel could be "re-born" (why do you think Israel was created? a lot of people felt badly for the Jews and that they needed their historical homeland)...if an athiest would acually open his/her mind and read the prophecies of the Bible they would understand why all that is happening in the world today is working for His for the three boys in the boat – why don't we all just be happy that they were rescued and have another chance at life....

    November 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank - Canada

      Hi John... Thanks for your thoughts. I do hope there is a God. My only explanation for all the good and bad things happening, if there is a God, are as follows: We were all spirits at some point and to prove that we were "good" spirits (for whatever reason), we accepted to wipe our memories for a while and live on Earth to be observed on how we would be like if given "freedom" of thoughts and action, also accepting that we'd see horrific things, injustices, baby deaths, etc. and that in the end we didn't really died, we'd see everyone again. But what would happen to the good and the bad spirits after that? Don't know. Would they/we have our own Universe to "run"? For what purpose? I decided to do good, regardless if there is a God or not.

      November 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Guest

    Wanna know what Grinds My Gears, CNN?

    Most all of you in these threads are incredibly hypocritical. Somehow, no matter what the topic of ANY CNN article is, the threads always end up being a free for all for everyone to bash each other about politics and/or religion. The people who push their views on everyone are equally as obnoxious as the people who tell them how stupid they are for their beliefs.

    Here's a novel idea, comment makers:
    If you want someone to ever respect you or your views, why don't you take the higher road and respect them for their opinion anyway? Who cares if you don't agree? Let them express themselves, while being comfortable in your own opinion. The world would be such a boring place if we all believed the same thing.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank - Canada

      I'm with you! Cheers to that.

      November 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • SourceOfAllThatLives

      I totally disagree with everything you said and am happy I have the freedom to express my opinion. Thank you very much.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I agree with the last post. There's no way I'm going to stop giving my opinion. It's one of my rights and you're suggesting that I should give up that right. Hmmmm.....

      November 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      That wasn't my point. Express yourself – go ahead, state it boldly. What I'm saying is, don't force it down each others' throats and have some level of respect for other people's opinions.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      And so we are. CHEERS!!!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
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