Indonesian teenager rescued after drifting 7 weeks at sea

Christopher Davidson
September 24, 2018

An Indonesian teen was found drifting in our waters after after strong winds blew him more than a thousand miles away from his home in North Sulawesi.

Mr Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, had one of the loneliest jobs in the world: He was a lamp keeper for a floating fish trap, 125km out at sea, with weekly brief human contact and a walkie-talkie.

An Indonesian teenager survived 48 days adrift at sea in a floating fish trap before he was rescued by a cargo vessel and taken to Japan, officials said on Monday.

The teenager was employed to light the rompong's lamps, created to attract the fish, and according to his father had done the job since he was sixteen.

The small, hut-like fish trap floats on the surface of the sea and is only supported by buoys and attached to the seabed by a long rope.

Every week, the teenager would be brought fresh supplies of food, water and fuel by someone from his company who would come to collect the fish.

During high winds on July 14, the worn rope tore and the teenager was pushed by the heavy winds out to sea.

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The Indonesian consul-general in Osaka, Mr Mirza Nurhidayat, who oversaw the return of Mr Aldi after his rescue, said that since the device was not a boat, it did not have any paddle or engine.

The parents of 18-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang and the Indonesian Consulate in Osaka, Japan, say he was rescued by a Panamanian-flagged vessel off Guam on August 31 and returned to Indonesia earlier this month.

'After he ran out of the cooking gas, he burned the wooden fences to make a fire for cooking.

"Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him".

Aldi initially waved a cloth at MV Arpeggio but after failing to attract the attention of its crew, sent an emergency radio signal.

Mr Adilang arrived in Japan on 6 September and flew back to Indonesia two days later, where he has now been reunited with his family.

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