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A Teen Survived at Sea for 49 Days in This Rickety, Floating Hut

Miraculously, ten ships passed by without seeing him before one finally came to the rescue.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Screengrab via the Indonesian Consulate General Osaka / the Guardian

While most teens were working at golf courses or whatever this summer, 19-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang spent his catching fish aboard a rickety, floating hut, known as a rompong, off the coast of Indonesia. But his summer gig unexpectedly turned into a 49-day nightmare, after a wind storm sent his ramshackle raft out into the open ocean, leaving him stranded with a walkie-talkie, a bible, and a few fishing supplies, the Guardian reports.


In a remarkably less cushy experience than that of the women who got lost at sea with a bunch of pasta, Adilang spent the next seven weeks alone at sea catching fish and cooking them over planks of wood he ripped from the side of the hut, the Straits Time reports. He also tapped into his inner Bear Grylls and drank seawater by ringing it through his clothes, reportedly in an attempt to cut down on the amount of salt he was taking in.

According to the Indonesian consulate, the teen wound up floating about 1,500 miles from where he'd started and was miraculously passed by at least ten ships before he could get one's attention.

"Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than ten ships had sailed past him, none of them stopped or saw Aldi," an Indonesian diplomat told the Jakarta Post.

Finally, roughly a month and a half after he'd gotten lost at sea, he finally managed to flag down a crew onboard the MV Arpeggio, a Panamanian ship, by firing off an emergency radio message from his walkie-talkie. According to the Straits Times, the boat circled him four times, but couldn't get close enough to drag him onboard, due to the windy conditions. The crew finally threw him a rope and the teen hurled himself into the water, clinging to the ladder they'd tossed him for dear life.

According to the Guardian, Adilan was reportedly suicidal during his weeks-long journey and considered jumping overboard, but instead turned to his Bible to pray. Miraculously, he made it out alive and flew back to Indonesia early this month, where he's since made a full recovery, the Straits Times reports.

And you thought your summer job was rough.

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