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. NJ Blind Jay

    hey hey hey, how come no one is thanking the seagul? he was just as important to these boys as the tunaboat, god, satan and luck was... i see a reality show in the future for these boys!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. What the!

    Maybe they just had a strong will to live, and were smart enough to take advantage of their surroundings. Both normal human traits.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Smellie

    mm-MMM raw seagull. Have a look at your turkey today, before you stick it in the oven and imagine it being freshly dead, beak, feet, eyes all there, body covered in feathers...think how hungry you would have to be to tear into it with your hands and teeth.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tellmenolies

    What a testament to the perseverance and strength we humans are capable off....

    November 25, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. happythanksgiving

    Common ToFurkey – Lighten up, it was a joke.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. NJ Blind Jay

    mmm yummy! raw turkey! gobble gobble!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kelly

    I'm fascinated how God draws non-believers like Jay, and why? to participate with true believers in these discussions. You'd think they'd have something better to waste their time on instead of convincing people that something they presumably don't care about even exists. Go figure!

    November 25, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Nope, I'm sick of having religious crap thrown at me day in and day out. I'm sick of having to hide the fact that I don't believe in god because I'll get looked down on by sheep. I'm sick of religion being a major cause of divisiveness and sorrow to a large part of the world. So, I'm quite happy to spend my free time here now and then to try and help those people who are on the fence. The christians sure don't have any problems sticking around here day and night pushing this garbage.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      Jay, I think you skipped over pedaphile priests. No biggy. We already know all we need to know about them.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. David

    YOU MUST BE BORN see the Kingdom of fellow Christians should understand this and pray for those yet to see instead of making negative comments toward them

    November 25, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Zeus

      I was quite content with being born once. That's enough for me. Being born a second time doesn't seem to add any value from what I can see.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. What the!

    My guess is 50 days in a aluminum boat made it look pretty good. But I've never been in their predicament, it wouldn't be my first choice either.

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

    Just because people don't believe a god intervened in this rescue, or caused the misfortune to begin with, doesn't mean they aren't glad about the outcome. And some of you seem to think being an atheist means you are miserable and hopeless. Not true. A belief in a god does not necessarily make you a better or happier person, just someone who can explain incidents using fairy tales. The boys were lost at sea and were rescued. Period. It is wonderful that they survived the ordeal and it makes atheists just as happy as it makes believers.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. happythanksgiving

    I'm off so Happy Thanksgiving to all, I'm thankful these kids are alive and at least that is the one thing we hopefully all have in common.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Wisdom4u2

      Yes, I agree!
      I know their families are so very thankful!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • iPwn

      I bet the boys are thankful because nobody gave up on them..............I mean, forget it.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Lost on a boat in the ocean

      Was one of those boys named Michael?

      Why didn't Michael row his boat ashore?

      November 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |

      I really have to say I am becoming tired of all these miracles. Why must we always attribute the random excellent fortune of someones survival to a omnipotent deity istead of the mathematical random good fortune it is? When something horrible and random happens like the gas explosion at the Mexican resort 2 weeks ago that killed 7, do we say it was demonic in nature? too is another completely random rare occurance that happens to humans also. But we then look for cause and blame to make sure it does not occur again. We need to start to grow up as an intellegent species and take credit and blame for what happens to us as of our own destiny ,and not some mythological presence.

      November 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BeAKeR

    Wow, all these people arguing back and forth over whether this is a miracle, then if God really exists, and how he/she is just or how he/she is unjust and blah blah blah... How about asking the families, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends of these lost boys how much it means to them that they are back home safe and sound, u just then might find the miracle your looking for.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon King

      That makes no sense. The family's personal opinion whether it is a miracle or God or not is irrelevant. That is their personal view, not right or wrong. Does not affect other people's opinions, not should it.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Police

      I think the point is THE FAMILIES DON'T CARE what you all think. Religious beliefs are a question of faith and I don't know why some people decide to keep arguing about it. The only points I will argue on is whether or not religious practices affect or endanger outsiders, ie when religion gets lumped in with law.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth's Follower

      Ken you are the best troll on all of internet

      and I agree, those guys were dead meat, everyone's lying.

      and all you jesus freaks are crazy wackos

      November 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      I agree with Police. Religion is personal faith, and there should NOT be a consensus on that.

      The only factors of religion worth debating are how it impacts negatively on others - when it is used to define law, when it is used to justify abuse or restrictions on human rights, when it is used as an excuse to harm or kill others. Personal interpretation or belief is a basic human right, and those who condemn it are as bad as those who force it on others.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • bozotheclown

      well said!

      November 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      WOW! So many negatives comments in such an amazing story. My first thought was what a great gift this was for the holidays. Now I understand they may not come from a Christian Family, but the thing is, they have families, and for such young men to have endured such tremendous trials, and to come home healthy. Well that alone , although to some may not be a miracle, it is in itself miraculous. So let's try not to be so negative,and just see the joy that these families must be sharing at their sons being home, after having been given up for dead.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fperron

    Just testing to see why my previous post never appeared.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ken

    I'm sorry, but something about this seems very, very wrong. This violates the basic rules of survival in extreme conditions (Survival is greatly threated by 3 Minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food). This is more of a guideline to keep people thinking (for example, some folks can hold their breath far longer than 3 minutes, and 3 hours without shelter applies only to the worst conditions). But you're talking 50 days without water or food or shelter?? And drinking sea water is absurd. That's 3x's as salty as your blood. So when you drink that, your body shifts into high gear to get rid of the extra salt. It INCREASES your dehydration as the body tries to pull water through the kidneys to eliminate the salts. If you are thirsty enough to result to sea water, this would be the final straw and kill you withing 1 to 2 days.

    Basically, someone is lying here or not all the information is being reported.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Maybe it rained.

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

      Its pretty extreme but I dont think its made up. The only way its even remotely possible if there were several (40+) cloudy days with drizzle or soft rain. The food is a stretch but I assume they started with some and its well within the world record. But sun and dehydration kill pretty fast. Its probably true but the full facts arent out. I dont think its lying – its just too fast reporting with delirious semi starved people. Give them water and food and a few more days and the story will make sense – but still be amazing..

      Either way a great Thanksgiving story!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      The article doesn't say they were drinking seawater the whole time. In fact, it says they drank rainwater. The hunger would have been crazy, but we don't know what their fat reserves were like, and they did eat one protein-rich food. They were probably within days of death when they found them, since they had begun drinking seawater.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Yes. The facts (as reported) do not support the outcome.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Your basic rule of survival is a bit silly, Ken. Look at hunger strikes that have lasted 70 days, look at Terri Shiavo surviving something like 12 days without water before she passed away. Those figures sound pretty as they all have the same number but unfortunately they are far from the truth.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • David Miller

      You can survive drinking 2 cups of seawater mixed with one cup of rain water per day if your kidneys are in good shape. Sailors have done this–sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It just depends on the person.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • David Miller

      ...the fact that some of you are crying "conspiracy" over this story is absurd. Get outside more. "Someone's not reporting the facts here, something's fishy..." What? Pathetic, really.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Indeed, pretty pathetic.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Tinsoldier

      Guess those boys can be thankful that you Ken were not on the boat with them. Your intellect would have destroyed there hope and faith which seems to be the only thing they had to sustain them. I hope your logic doesn't get in the way of your day of grace.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Wisdom4u2

      Oh please!!! Like you know everything! Ever heard of this:
      Definition of MIRACLE
      1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
      2: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
      3Christian Science : a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law

      November 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      One cannot survive if they do not get shelter in 3 hours.... you are a damn moron.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      You may be right, there might be more to the story. I doubt its some big conspiracy to fool the world. People have survived for days drinking their own urine, for instance. Why must people be so cynical and quick to the negative? Why can't we just be excited and happy that these three young boys are alive and in good health?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • tuffyturf

      Why not try a stunt like this? I have been thinking about doing it myself.... You go missing, then show up in the ________ fill in the blank..Tell a story about a harrowing survival situation, get the book and movie deal and whahla! Instant millionaire.

      Look at what happened to the Chilean miners- they are being called heroes- WHY? Ah because they are all too stupid to get jobs requiring a skill, so they go deep in the earth and dig up coal- then they get trapped and they are heroes?

      So if they are heroes, I think if I survived ... lets see... getting caught on a Volcano, hiding in a cave in freezing conditions- without food, water or breathable air...I could be declared a miracle martyr, and maybe even a god...YES< King me – I think I will hike an volcano soon

      November 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cueball

      One survival technique you are taught in certain military branches is that you can survive on sea water if you basically give yourself a sea water enema. Your body will absorb the water through your intestines, but will filter out the salt. So if the boys took a dip each day, they may have been hydrating without even knowing it.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Miracle

      Ken ol' boy, why don't you just admit that this is most obviously a Miracle From God! Even you see that such a thing could not be possible by normal means but then the good Lord does not always work by normal means and no one, absolutely no one could sustain the life of those three boys except for GOD Our Creator!

      November 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Survivor

      Hello Ken,

      No-one knows what they are talking about and will never understand the true power of human will and strength until they themselves are put in a survival situation. A lot depends on the person(s) in the situation, some are strong enough (mentally and physically) to only survive a few days, and others believe it or not: 50+ days (even on very little and very limited food/water supply).

      It's so easy to watch a football game and criticize a player for dropping a pass, but if you put yourself in his might also drop the pass or you might catch it. You won't ever know until it's you in the real situation.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • IonOtter

      It was an equatorial zone. Getting fresh drinking water is NOT a problem there. On the contrary, making sure all the available fresh water doesn't fill up your boat and sink it is more of a problem. You haven't lived until you've stood on the bridge, stripped down to your bathing suit, getting hammered by raindrops the size of kumquats.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKB

      If Ken was on the boat they probably would have eaten him.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Ken, Are you always so negative? Who cares what they drink or how they lived out there on the open ocean... The point is that these KIDS survived. Just be happy for them and their families.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • SteveR

      the answer is simple, they were healthy require less to survive and are able to maintain blood health longer than and adult. they were the perfect age to survive such an ordeal

      November 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth's Follower


      You are awesome, brother. Stay awesome. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      November 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • berysax

      I guess we'll have to find out on the next episode of "I Shouldn't be Alive" on Animal Planet. I don't know why it's on Animal Planet but that show will give you a pretty good idea what they had to do to survive, considering a lot of the episodes are people lost at sea. One guy was lost 76 days in the middle of the Atlantic!!! Crazy but barley possible. I'm just saying, I have a great respect for those boys and a good idea of exactly what they went through. Drinking sea water will make you hallucinate. They were probably very close to death.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • arrowmaker

      Well maybe this never happened, now do you feel better??

      November 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      If you read the full report, the kids fished and ate seagul, and drank rain water. In the South Pacific its always raining at random times, They can collect rain water in the seats in their boat or in wahtever they had on them. It wasn't until the last few days that they were forced to try drinking salt water. That 3 times rule you have, does not apply to every situation. There are many cases of people being trapped in caves (the Miners in Chile) stuck in a rock (the new 127 minutes movie) surviving plane crashes, and ship sinkings for days at a time and walk away. The sea is very unforgiving, but at times she is forgiving and gives back what she takes. As a sailor, like me, all we have have is our crew members in the sea, and when everyone works together, everyone can come home. This story is not about debates and conroversy, but at the fact that against odds that many will never face, these three young men, survived together, and never gave up. As a result, they get to go home to their families.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Yeah it's a big conspiracy! Not. Praise the Lord.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ash

      Actually, there was a scientist who went abord a small boat and proved that you could live at sea for a relatively long period of time by drinking small amounts of seawater and anything you could catch from the ocean. Therefore, it does not make a difference that they drank seawater. there are plenty of examples of people being adrift at sea for extremely long periods of time and surviving.

      There was actually a instance where a Chinese sailor spend something like 133 days alone at sea around the time of WW2. So, it is very possible to survive terrible conditions.

      November 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Ken


      Did you ever THINK to read the stories from the other news outlets? Maybe then you will see what they had been eating and drinking and when it was they actually tried a small amount of sea water. You made yourself look like a fool. GOOD JOB!

      November 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kor

    Raw seagul?

    November 25, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Gabser

      How did they catch the friggin seagull??

      November 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Denker

      Albatross! Aaaaalbaaaaaatross, anybody?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      raw seagull is entirely reasonable; i was raised on raw seagull and it's very lean and tasty

      November 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
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