A 19-year-old boy survived 49 days at sea, eating fish he caught and drinking seawater he filtered using his shirt.
Aldi Novel Adilang was in charge of a rompong, a fishing hut consisting of a rectangular, raft-like structure with a small thatched-roofed hut on top of it. He was stationed about 77 miles off the coast of Indonesia when high winds severed the line anchoring the structure and it became unmoored.
With no paddles or way to power the vessel, Adilang spent the next 49 days adrift, eventually arriving in waters near Guam, some 1,200 miles from his home in Indonesia.
During this time, Adilang used the meager provisions he already had with him (about a week’s worth of food, water, and fuel for a cook stove) sparingly. He caught fish and drank rain water. When the fuel for the stove was used up, he cooked the fish on fires he made from broken-off pieces of railing from the rompong.
Whenever a ship passed in the distance he lit a lantern as a signal, but the first ten ships apparently didn’t see it.
Luckily for Adilang, after nearly two months at sea, crew members from the Panama-flagged MV Arpeggio, saw his signal and rescued him.
This is Aldi Adilang.
He just survived 49 days stranded on a tiny fishing raft off #Indonesia, with nothing but a walkie-talkie, stove, and generator.
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) September 24, 2018
Here’s footage of the rescue:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 24, 2018
Twitter users were impressed with Adilang’s will to live and his ability to survive:
omg.. the will to live.. godblesshim
— Isabella Buccilati (@IBuccilati) September 25, 2018
That's amazing! 99% of people wouldn't make it
— Casey Jorgensen (@caseysurfrider) September 25, 2018
— Aley (@aliolly05) September 25, 2018
Resilience > Miracle
— Adam Kirschner (@fredfresh) September 25, 2018
Some were particularly impressed with how he used his shirt as a water filter:
Someone needs to expand on the filtering through clothes! Amazing–had no idea that was possible!!!
— Ⓥ VEGAN FOOD TASTES GOOD (@InLWithLBeingL) September 25, 2018
Filtered sea water through his shirt??? They don’t teach me these things in school…
— peeta (@peteypipen) September 25, 2018
Commenters found similarities between survivor-themed movies and this real-life tale:
The Life of Pi
— DJ GRIF8 (@djGriF8) September 25, 2018
Tom Hanks – Cast Away
— Bossman (@BigBossmanTv) September 25, 2018
Cast away mini version
— star (@star05294531) September 25, 2018
I’ll pay to see this movie.
— MarGoLuv (@MargoGiron) September 25, 2018
It’s called Life of Pi lol
— Santo Lupito (@LordLupe120) September 25, 2018
I would love to see his suspenseful journey made into a movie, unlike the yawnfest Shape of Water where the writer could have made up anything!
— Susie Lindau (@SusieLindau) September 25, 2018
Of course, to some, Adilang’s survival was no biggie:
yall acting like he isnt a trained fisherman he’s probably been used to filtering water and obviously,FISHING, for food to eat. why are y’all surprised.
— Tha Kid ♂️ (@brysougly) September 25, 2018
7 weeks at sea,you read it right? apparently not
— Louie Rios (@lrios921) September 25, 2018