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. Jenna


    Your 'god' allowed 3 young boys to be lost at sea for over 50 days, only to be found by accident. Nice guy. Was this one of his 'tests?'

    ....Maybe it was a test.maybe it was a freak accident. at least he provided them with food and water.that should be enough to be thankful for.and who are you going to thank?...the bird?...the ocean?
    or the man who made birds and oceans,
    and the man who made miracles like this happen.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wait Watcher

    How many points is a seagull on weight watchers?

    December 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. karen

    Rina, There is a God. He was and is with those 3 boys at all times. Only God can write His word onto our hearts. We can't make non-believers believe. We can pray for them however that God would open their eyes, hearts and ears to what He says.They are so sure there isn't a God because they don't know any other way to believe. So, talking to non-believers can be a challenge. Just let them know there is another way of thinking, living and hoping. They could throw your words down into the dirt but at least you spoke to honor His name.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Investigator

    What they forgot to tell you in the article is that there were 5 people on the boat originally... Now you know where the substance came from for the 3 to survive!

    December 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. designers x

    Very Lucky ones. Should soon be on Discovery channel series called "I shouldn't be alive"
    A series made of such true events...

    January 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. designers x

    Very Lucky ones. Should soon be on Discovery channel series called "I shouldn't be alive"
    A series made of such true events...

    January 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. grass fed meat

    However long the night the dawn will break.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Salmansaifi

    Curt – We had such a great time with you, Magnus! This picture is aifutebul and we can't wait to see the others after you've done your magic. Great work as always!

    April 22, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
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