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. Vincent

    Ever wonder why Christians and Jews celebrate certain holidays or events centuries later? Imagine trying to convince the nation or church to celebrate that holiday the year after it happened...and it didn't. We would't be celebrating Easter or other events to this day. That is like asking this nation to remember 911 a year after it never happened, and that event will never catch on or last for thousand years.

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

      It's not hard to imagine at all, considering Christianity hijacked existing pagan holidays like the winter solstice and vernal equinox.

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

      What does this have to do with the story above?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      That's true. Like Thanksgiving. Which, by the way, never happened.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. confused

    What's with all this god talk? I don't see god mentioned once in this story...do you?
    Miracles are just a way of trying to explain out of the ordinary events and they don't have to be attributed to anyone or anything. Come on folks...just because something happens that you don't understand doesn't mean an invisible man in the sky had anything to do with it. Again...come on...use your brain...

    November 25, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      Common sense, most people associate the word "miracle" with religion, specifically christianity and the christian "god". You know darn well that most people make that connection.

      Thus, people start "praising god", and then people start "correcting" said posts.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rufus

    GOD had nothing to do with this. They are strong boys with a will to survive.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jesus Christ

    Sorry, but I had nothing to do with these two boys surving at sea for 50 days, it was basically a whole lot of luck, grit and vigor of youth.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • dirby

      Thank you, Jesus, for clearing this whole thing up.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • GoldFinger

      JC... now is my chance to corespond with you directly. Right-on! You have any stock tips or investment advice? Let me know... amen!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Lost on a boat in the ocean

      Git and vigor??
      How did they drink each others urine with no cups. Open wide – oh you are such a bad aim!

      November 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      Of course you didn't. By the way it was 3 boys, oh wait, you knew that, you were just......testing us.......

      November 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Luc

    I'm just gonna go ahead and forego any religious belief as I really think a lot of you are missing the boat here. I really don't care how it happened, who was responsible and what the meaning of life is... How are you not impressed that 3 mid teenagers survived adrift for 50 days with next to nothing. I'm in my mid twenties, I have done very well for my life situation yet if you gave me 50 day supply of survival materials and a cooler full of food I bet I'd make it a week tops. LOL Really now... as for the who the what and the how, all the matters is that they were found. Priorities people, priorities. Believe in what you want but please don't shove it down people's throats, it's utterly disrespectful.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. sarah in chicago

    Thanks be to God, His love endures forever. Those boys were meant to live, and may have some big work a head of them!

    November 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. fperron

    OK, so these comments are pre-screened by CNN.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. fperron

    You just can't post anything that's critical of CNN.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • CNN

      Well if your allegations against me are correct, which they are not, then how did your post get through?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rocketship

    Difference between free will and Determinism.
    Also, who can say when the first moment was.
    We are all thankful for this story.

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

    There you go a news reporter not getting the facts quite right, or a attempt to make the story more exciting by changing the facts. You see it every day. I'm glad and impressed that they just survived. Happy Thanksgiving all!

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

      What did the article say that's not right?

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

    wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! happy thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    As the saying goes:

    I rather live as tho ther is a God than to live as if ther isn't only to find out later there IS! Faith, courage, determination, Hope..love for their families..survival ..kept them alive..going..and keepin on...so. was it "by chance" that tunaboat totally went a direction they normally don't go...hmmmmm! How do u think that happened? Hmmmm..

    If u don't believe in God..that's ok..he still has faith & hope in you..God is not done w you..he believes in you even when u don't believe in him.. But the great thing here is they are back safe& alive!! That's all that matters... Credit who u wish to! Just be thankful..that's all.. 🙂 Happy "Thanksgiving" To All!!

    November 25, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon King

      That "saying" is dumb. I would rather live with a clear head and live and let live. I would not want to spend a day going around numb and dumb believing in a fairy tale.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Agreed. Believing or not believing doesn't change the fact that He exists. The sad fact is, the day will come when we will all be faced with the reality of Who He is...until then, how wonderful for these families that their loved ones are being returned to them safely. I see the mercy and grace of the Lord at work....others can see or not see what they want. But the important thing is the boys are home safely. We can ALL take joy in that.

      November 25, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • PureCandor

      It's not just some random saying, firstly, it's called Pascal's Wager...

      The flip side of it is that if you do die and there is nothing beyond, you wasted much of the invaluable finite time on earth (and your only period of existence) worshipping a mysterious thing in the sky that has a list of 10 things it doesn't want you to do.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • SwordofPerseus

      Yes I see the Mercy of the Lord in Haiti and Somalia. Nice work lord, oh and keep sending the Catholic priests little boys to molest please. Amen.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      I fixed it for you:

      "Agreed. Believing or not believing doesn't change the fact that He doesn't exist."

      Kids believe in Santa, until they figure out the myth, and then he no logner "exists". Some day the rest of you will hit the age when you figure out the myth.

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

    I just took a massive dump! An entire hour after my usual routine. GOD must be running late today.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • james

      best laugh i've had today, now tell GOD you're sorry. he has a sense of humor also. that's why he allows all of us fools to entertain him.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dana

    Living on one third of a bird for 50 days! Amazing! Man, I'm going to eat more than that just today. Well, since it's Thanksgiving, it'll be a LOT more. Today let us be thankful we are not at sea eating raw seagull and dying of thirst.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    So if this is a miracle consider this. God was responsible for creating this situation and then the boys are found and he/she gets credit for a miracle. If they weren't found it was "god's will". Wow. Talk about covering all your bases.

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