19-year-old survives after 48 days adrift in sea

James Marshall
September 24, 2018

Aldi Novel Adilang's harrowing tale began in mid-July when the 18-year-old was working solo on a fishing hut anchored about 125km off Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

Mr Aldi aboard his stricken timber fish trap on which he survived at sea for 49 days.

His job had been to light the rompong's lamps, which are created to attract fish, the Jakarta Post newspaper reports.

Once a week, someone would come with provisions for him and take away the collected fish.


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.

Aldi was found in Guam's territorial waters.

About ten ships passed the malnourished teen before a Panamanian-flagged vessel rescued him on Aug 31 near Guam and brought him to Japan, its original destination.

Credit Indonesian Consulate Osaka
Credit Indonesian Consulate Osaka

Local media reports said he survived by eating supplies kept in his hut and catching fish.

'Aldi's story is indeed dramatic, and we are thankful to all - the ship's captain and the Japanese authorities - that have been very helpful in ensuring Aldi's return, ' Mr Mirza said.

Aldi initially waved a cloth at MV Arpeggio but after failing to attract the attention of its crew, sent an emergency radio signal. At one point he said was suicidal and considered jumping into the ocean, but remembered his parents' advice to pray in times of distress.

Coast Guard Sector Guam confirms they received a call at the time of the rescue, but handed the information over to the Japan Coast Guard as the vessel that picked up the teen was heading towards Japan.

A diplomat from the Indonesian consulate in Osaka confirmed to Efe news that Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, was in good health and reunited with his family in his hometown, Wori, in North Sulawesi province.

Stranded in the middle of the ocean without supplies and unsure of his fate, "Aldi was scared and cried often" during the experience, said Firdaus.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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