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. aUtheistIC

    Miracle or by chance, each other's belief have nothing but a little relevance on this, the most important thing is the kids are safe now and soon to be reunited with their families. The least thing that we can do here is to respect each other's opinion and beliefs.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. happythanksgiving

    I think this is an amazing story of survival, and how happy their families must be. As a mother I can only imagine. pity it has been made a religious debate and I got roped into responding to that as I get so frustrated by some of the childish comments. But everyone can enjoy this in response to the comments, very funny and appropriate for thanksgiving (in a way)

    An athesist walks through the forest admiring the forest trees, the blue sky and all of God's creation except he does not believe it is from God. A great bear jumps out at him and as he is lying on the ground the athiest yells "oh God". Everything freezes, the bear stops in mid-air frozen and a voice asks, "Why have you denied me, you deny this creation I made for you and you have denied me, are you ready to say I exist?" The atheist now knows God exists but says " I will be a hypocrite asking for you go save me now, so please God, why don't you rather make the bear a Christian instead of me?. the Lord says "Very well then". The world unfreezes and the bear sits and puts his paws together and says 'Thanks you Lord for this delicious meal I'm about to eat".

    November 25, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • ToFurkey

      Go fish!! If you think someone getting eaten by a bear is funny! THAT is the problem with you religious WINGNUTS. Everything is "justified" if it is explained by your holy book – a book written up by another person??????? The world would be a far more peaceful place if clowns like you were more tolerant and not try to push your thoughts down everyone's throats!!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • JCizzle

      By far one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Oh JCizzle, they're capable of much more stupidity than this. You must be new around here!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      I completely agree with ToFurkey.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • AEtheiStOP

      Here's another story for the four posters above...One day an atheist was lost in the jungle and a hungry lion came. It doesn't make him believe in God but he kneeled in prayer hoping that the lion is a Christian and will believe his pretention and would spare him. Then the lion also kneeled and pray. The atheist was very happy and was laughing out loud to see it and he said to the lion, how easy you Christians are to be fooled. But the lion answered No, you didn't fool me, it is that's what (Christians) we usually do before (sumptous) meal and I will pray again after when I'm done eating you, the lion added.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • mikeyd74

      ^^perhaps you should pray to your god to help you with writing a coherent sentence

      November 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Your lion story is just like the rest of them, completely ridiculous.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • AEtheiStOP


      November 25, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. glo

    I bet it was very emotional for them. Being on an open boat being exposed to storms and tides most of been quiet of an ordeal'. This is a time faith and courage is needed the most. My hearts go out to them and a Happy Thanksgiving to all.'

    November 25, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mark Allgood

    After reading all the comments one doesn't need to wonder why the world is in the condition it is in. What a bunch of idiots!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      Yeah, Mark. You and me be smarter than them.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • TeaBagger Palinski

      You betcha mark. What a bunch of idiots. We need to repudiate them!!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Urination

    Do you think they drank each others urine? If so with no cups how was the urine poured? – ewwww yuck open wide

    November 25, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jcp

    Is God created us then who created God? If claim that no one created God then why couldn't you believe that no one created us and that we've jus always been?

    November 25, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • OBaMtheistIC

      Then who created the tea party?

      November 25, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      Sounds logical.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. CanadianBacon

    Seriously people just be happy that they were found alive. It shouldn't matter if it was infact "God", or just chance that the tuna boat found them. Just be happy that they were found, and in over all good condition.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • mikeyd74

      i am happy. in fact im ecstatic that these boys were found... alive! what gets me going tho is when the religious nut jobs come out of the wood work with "its a miracle! god saved them!!" where was their god in darfur? where was he in haiti? does he only save the light skinned? does he hate the darkies? it just makes me sick to my stomach that so many people can be so feeble minded...

      November 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      ey is because, there "are so many people" believe in things you don't or you don't want to believe in. And let me tell you that there are billions out there. You must accept the truth, though it's hard and make your life less miserable than your spelling.

      I just hope that for your sake, CNN will put a spell check on their blogs.

      November 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Possibly a grammar checker would be nice as well. You're not as superior as you think you are athiestop. We all make mistakes, some just choose to rub it into people instead of providing constructive criticism.

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

      to tell you I'm NOT, but we shared the same PC and in fact, there are 3 of us here. It just so happen that they're quite busy doing other things. But anyway, you were saying about constructive critism, I think you can suggest it to (mikey) your fellow after what he had replied to (atheistop)my fellow here.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Urination

    Was one of them boys named Michael?

    If so, why didn't "Michael row your boat ashore!"


    November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mrs. Sixx

    Wow! Something wonderful happens and people have to come on here and be so hateful. What is wrong with you people? Just be happy for these boys and their families.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. The1Frosty

    Glad they are safe, 50 days with limited supplies at sea, tuna boat finding them, this is great. But take a good story and make it into a religious fight, pathetic. No matter which side of the fence you are on, feel good that these kids are now safe.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. elle

    If the cable cars in San Francisco became disconnected, it would be a potential disaster, unless God intervened. When we become disconnected, as we do when we get distracted – since we are imperfect – and He intervenes when we call upon Him, and sometimes when we don't, we avoid potential disaster.Remember, he gave us choice. Glad the boys are back and I am looking forward to what God has in store for them.Maybe they were rescued when they asked Him for help. Ihave had that experience during a home invasion robbery. As soon as I mentioned His name, they left...and fast.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      What did God have in store for them? I think it was seagull.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Newsreader1

    Some very good news for a change. Hats off to these young MEN and the MEN who found them.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. JCizzle

    Great story! I'm curious as to how they survived. Surely they couldn't last 50 days on only one bird and minimal water. Glad to hear they're ok.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. MarkV

    I don't know what they believed in, but they had to have some sort of faith to not simply cease to struggle and abandon themselves to their fate. This is similar to the the story of the soccer team that crashed in the mountains and had to survive for months. Each day the religious said their rosary and the agnostics declined, until they too needed some type of faith to garner the will to live on.

    You can believe in what you like; but if you don't have faith in something, then you will fail when you are truly tested.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • TeaBagger Palinski

      How about hey believed in "themselves" for a change eh??

      November 25, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Darryl

    Thanks and praises to Lord Ganesh for bringing them to safety! HE was truly with them!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Nuh uh, it was the Flying Spaghetti Monster that protected them with his noodly appendage.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
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