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, explainations and beliefs have nothing but little relevance on this, the most important thing is, the kids are safe now and soon to be happily 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 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sno Buny

    The life experience of these children has nothing to do with religion. It's life...that is their story. They were just dealt a different hand than you or me. They survivied. It just proves that life is a sink or swim battle.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. why?

    is this thing working?

    November 25, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      Nope, it's not working, but that won't stop me from trying to pound a square plug through a round hole.....

      November 25, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      we wish it wasn't.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. why?

    please read Eccesiastes 9:11 in your bibles, you will find out that God does not micro manage your lives like some of you believe. speaking of believing in God open your bibles to James 2:18-19

    November 25, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I absolutely believe that god doesn't micro-manage my life! I also believe that he isn't there at all! I'm quite happy with this.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • J. Bowen

      Huh? By having us read the passage from James you argue against your own point. Even Satan acknowledges Jesus as Lord...and you don't??

      November 25, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • why?

      Mr J. Bowen please read 1 Timothy 6:3-4 and you will see that beliving in our Lord Christ Jesus is a requirement of Christians "hence the name Christians"

      November 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • why?

      Mr J. Bowen, the bible passage in James 2:18-19 was mentioned because more is requred of worship to God than just simply beliving in God, belief in God must also be backed up by good works. hence where the Bible says "you belive in one God do you? You are doing well quite well.And yet the Demons belive and shudder" this shows that more is needed than just simply believing in it. you must back up that belief by your works. like the old saying "Actions speak louder than words" the Demons believe in God yet devote there time to wicked acts against mankind, hence the name demons.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • PureCandor

      can god micromanage my finances for me?

      November 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      He wanted to but he just can't beacause you are "purely" bankrupt.

      November 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alan

    For the non believers in the Lord God Jesus Christ..... If you are right, then for the sake of eternity we have lost nothing, but if the believers in God are right, and you are wrong, you will have lost everything. Praise God these kids are safe.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Hurrah for Pascal's Wager!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      Then I guess we've lost nothing.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • PureCandor

      and if you're wrong you will have lost half of the only life you get worshipping an invisible man in the sky who has a list of 10 things he doesn't want you to do.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      Meaning you spent your whole life "purely" of having no god, dishonoring your parents, working on Sundays, commiting adultery, stealing, murdering, falsely accusing your neighbors, coveting your neighbors wife and goods? is that what you say? Oh, so are having a complete happy life. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

      November 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      I think you should have prefix the acronym of United Nations on your monicker.

      November 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Oh yes, all of us athiests run around stealing, lying and murdering because we don't have some invisible man in the sky to stop us. Do you actually think about what you're typing? Do you actually think at all? It's no wonder we despise most of you.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • aUtheistIC

      if you could see, I was only replying to pure candor's comment. And correct me if i'm wrong, that he was trying to say that Alan would lost half of his life not doing those 10 things that God prohibited him to do. Now allow me to ask what were those 10 things that he was referring to? were those the 10 commandments that was given by God to its people through Moises, weren't they? Follow-up question, do you know what are those (10)commandments? If no, then I think you must do yourself a favor to discover it yourself to be able to comprehend what I was saying. However if it's a yes, I would also say YES, I was thinking when I was typing those things I've had said. It so happen that it doesn't share with yours and with your fellow atheists and that's made you "despise most or I'd rather say all of us. Now, one last question, Am I right or you were wrong?

      November 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CanadianMind

    While all of you are debating whether God or random chance is responsible, how about throwing some credit towards the boys themselves for knowing what to do to keep themselves alive long enough to be rescued, and probably their parents and peers who taught them those skills and gave them that fighting chance. Credit where credit is due.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sagebrush Shorty

    Survival is the strongest instinct, regardless of religion.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mary


    November 25, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      But not as great as Double Cheeseburgers! Mmmmm

      November 25, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • thisguy

      you mean like Allah Akbar?

      November 25, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      Seagulls are greater

      November 25, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      We're serving seagull sushi at my house today, while we gaze a Russia in the distance.......

      November 25, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Distraught?

    How does one become physically 'distraught'?

    November 25, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      I believe it was by being at sea in a small boat for 50 days.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. J. Bowen

    There's a name for conjuring up a 'god' whose actions all can be explained: idolatry. Regarding our God, Jehovah: "The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding NO ONE CAN FATHOM." – Isaiah 40:28

    November 25, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      You guys throw out all these quotes and completely ignore the ones that deal with murder, slavery, child-killing etc. Until you start quoting some of those, we're going to just ignore this other babble, k?

      November 25, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Jay, I presume you can read those quotes on the web sites that deal with the topics you've raised. Otherwise, read my entry below... And, Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Actually Kelly, the quotes I'm talking about come from your precious bible. Try reading it some day.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rocketship

    Settle down Qausiturkey. You got some anger issues or deep seated emotional problems for which you should seek professional help.
    Understand certain individuals belief system requires them to prostelize or be damned.
    Its annoying but can't be helped.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. KGSenior

    Perseverance always pays off, it just goes to show you no matter how dire the situation is never give up. For these kids to display these particular attributes should be recognized by everyone, great job

    November 25, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. yay!

    It's a Festivus miracle!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. wildman

    O.K. forget about religion, politics, astronomy, etc. etc. I want to know how these kids could outlive the most experienced survival experts on this planet and survive for fifty days on what must have been next to nothing. I also thought that even small amounts of sea water would kill you if you drank it. I would think that these kids could make a bundle training the military in survival methods. Just think they could save christians, atheists, jews, budists, hindus, satan worshipers, democrats, republicans, teaparties, tea baggers........

    November 25, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. John

    By CNN Standards, these boys qualify as heroes. They will be on the next CNN Heroes award show as the opening act.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
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