Teenager read Bible to help him survive 49 days adrift at sea
Aldi Novel Adilang, from Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo, was rescued after spending 49 days adrift on a floating fishing hut after a storm snapped the mooring cable.
Ten ships had already sailed past the nineteen-year-old during his ordeal, dashing his hopes of rescue each time. Finally the MV Arpeggio, a Panamanian vessel, picked him up over 1500 miles away in Guam waters, answering his emergency radio signal. The Guam coastguard transferred him to the Indonesian consulate in Osaka, Japan.
The young lamp-keeper, who worked about 80 miles from shore on a floating “rompong” fishing trap, had only a few days of rations left over from a weekly supply boat visit. But the resourceful teen survived by catching fish he cooked by burning wood from his fishing hut and sipping seawater filtered through folded clothes to reduce the salt content.
“I thought I was going to die out there,” Aldi told local news reporters, and even considered jumping into the ocean to end his life at a low point. Instead, he prayed and read the Bible he had on board to help him through his trial, remembering his parents’ advice to pray at times of distress.
Aldi is now home in Manado, reunited with his family, and is reportedly in good health.
The vast archipelago of Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, although Christians comprise at least 15%. Historically, Christians and Muslims lived together peacefully as equals, but since the 1980s, the role of Islam in public life has increased, as has violence against Christians.