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

    This is truly a great story, and I am glad the boys are alive and well. I know their families are very happy.

    Ever wonder why Christians and Jews celebrate holidays and events thousands of years after the even happened? (Ex. Christmas, Easter, Passover) Imagine asking a nation or church to remember an even the following year after the even never happened. No one would participate, and that even will not be around a thousand years later. Imagine asking us to remember 911 a year after 911 never happened. No one would participate, but 911 did happen. Remembering 911 will last for centuries into the future.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Semper Fi

    50 days at sea in a good ship with all you need is hard. These kids are amazing. Great news!

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

    Sweeeeeeeet!

    November 25, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Adeola Buari

    This is one of the greatest miracles of our time.God is indeed ever kind and decided to spear their lives.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      Good thing those boys decided to spear that seagull, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. truck

    Hey, if I say your in the road and about to be hit by a semi and you don't believe me, it doesn't make the semi go away

    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Really

      It also doesn't mean there is a semi coming down the road either. You could be a liar, imagine that, telling lies to get someone to do something?? Strange??

      November 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      What you meant to say was:

      "If I find you down on your luck and tell yoou that faith in god will bring you eternal salvation, and you don"t believe me, I won't go away until I've convinced you."

      November 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fperron

    Eff you CNN

    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Athiestsarelosers

    Wow the athiests are out in full force today that's for sure. It must be the holidays.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ckesling

      no kidding.... sseesshh ! well said.:) happy thanksgiving...

      November 25, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      The same could be said for christians, except it happens year round.

      Oh, and I'm not an atheist. I am jsut a human being. I belong to no group, nor organisation, nothing religious in any way, pro or con.

      Nice trolling though, way stoke the fire.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Jo

      Golly Gee!

      Those damn kids these days, never doing what they are told.
      Its all that rock and roll and evil evolution talk that has ruined this country.
      The flood will come again and cleanse the earth of our sins.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      @Athiestsarelosers nice username, really open minded 🙂

      November 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ckesling

    now this is what i'm talking about !!!! this will be one of the best thanksgiving all of these familes will ever have.... well done:)))

    November 25, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • GoldFinger

      Unfortunately, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in New Zeland!

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

      They may not celebrate Thanksgiving in New Zealand, but for these boys they have another reason to celebrate it. Not everybody has the same reasons to celebrate something. Do you think the American Indian celebrates Thanksgiving? I doubt they are thankful for the White man coming to their land and scalping them. These boys have a true reason to celebrate their own Thanksgiving, and even if the number of days is exaggerated, still they were alone in a boat nearly a thousand miles from where they should have been. It's just another amazing story of survival, and yes, it does happen. Miners in Chile is another example.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      "They may not celebrate Thanksgiving in New Zealand, but for these boys they have another reason to celebrate it."

      Yeah, but, they never had a reason to celebrate it before.....it's an American holiday. Most of the world does not celebrate it. To them it will just be "the day we were rescued". And thanksgiving does not always fall on the same calendar day every year.

      November 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gabser

    I think there's a typo. It was probably 5 days. LOL

    November 25, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Ethan

      no it says early october somewhere (since theyve been lost)

      November 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ed

    Don't usually waste my time commenting on anything on the web, including Palin. However, when the athiests come out of the woodwork to spout their arrogant, condescending philosophy of "I have it all figured out" which they base on their superior logic, it becomes nauseating. We human beings with our free will allow characters like Stalin, Hitler, or Mao Tse Tung and their followers to spread evil around, and I suggest maybe its time for humans to use our free will to better the human conditiobn. Regarding the three young men stranded for 50 days I'm very happy they were found alive and even atheists can't adequately explain the "accidental" convergence of the fishing boat and the stranded young men. A real good Thanksgiving story.

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

      So, Ed, in your world view, your "God" got these kids from the Tokelau Islands lost at sea for 50 horrendous days and then had a tuna boat find them so that you could have a heartwarming story on the U.S. Thanksgiving? He has an interesting way of performing "miracles".

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

      It seems like the atheist's are the more intelligent ones Ed. Your logic is dizzying.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • PureCandor

      errr probability?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikeyd74

      hitler was a christian fool

      November 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cueball

      Ed: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. There you go, I just explained it.

      When the bible-thunpers come out of the woodwork to spout their arrogant, condescending philosophy of "I have it all figured out" which they base on their superior logic, it becomes nauseating. Hey, that sounds familiar...

      Stephen Hawking, "The Grand Design". Read it.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. livery

    glad THIS story had a happy ending

    November 25, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nancy

    Excellent! Now they too can be called "heroes" and join the rescued miners visiting LA.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Gabser

      LOL – I am Chilean and Live in Chile – I see miners in my soup everyday !!!

      November 25, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nancy

    Ed....sweetie.....now ,don't get upset...but......"explain the "accidental" convergence of the fishing boat and the stranded young men". It's called CHANCE/LUCK/COINCIDENCE. That's IT.....that's ALL.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gman

    what the article doesn't say is that there was originally a 4th boy in the boat....

    November 25, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palinski

      Yeah, he was a liberal atheist....

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

      My thoughts exactly...

      November 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      No, he wass the lone christian, and they killed him after the fifth day straight of him tring to convert them.

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

    God was with them.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • SwordofPerseus

      God must be a real creep to let 3 young innocent boys drift hopelessly for weeks, watching from above, with the power to save them at any time. I'm sure there must be a special purpose for this; maybe one of them is "Jesus".LOL

      November 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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