Aldi Novel Adilang used all his resources to survive the harrowing experience after being cast adrift on the hut he was working at, miles away from his home.
The 18-year-old was on a fishing trap, shaped like a hut, located 77 miles (125km) off Indonesia, when the moorings keeping the structures anchored to the seabed snapped.
Aldi, from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, works on the hut in the middle of the sea in total solitude, lightening up the hut’s lamps and catching the fish they attract, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.
Every week, he is brought fresh supplies of food, water and fuel by a fellow member of his company, who in exchange get the fish the young worker gathered in the hut, called rompong.
[He] said he had been scared and often cried while adrift
But on July 14, the hut’s moorings gave up, and he had to wait 49 days before a vessel noticed and picked him up near Guam.
As he only had a limited amount of supplies on board, Aldi caught fish and cooked it by burning the fences of the rompong.
As the hut didn’t have any paddles or engine, Aldi had no way to try to navigate his way back to Indonesia.
Despite showing incredible courage and spirit of survival, Aldi was scared to death, according to people near him.
Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat in Osaka, Japan, told The Jakarta Post: «[He] said he had been scared and often cried while adrift.
«Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him. None of them stopped or saw [him].»
Only on August 31 Aldi was able to communicate with other vessels, sending an emergency radio signal upon seeing the MV Arpeggio, a Panama’s bulk carrier that was sailing near him.
The captain of the vessel rushed to save the young boy, and immediately contacted the Guam coast guard.
According to a statement from the Indonesian Consulate General in Osaka’s Facebook page, the coastal guard told the crew to take Aldi to Japan, the final destination of the carrier.
Aldi finally reached dry land on September 6, with Japanese authorities giving him permission to enter after considering his extenuating circumstances.
Two days later he was flown back to Indonesia, where he was welcomed back by his family.
His mother, Net Kahiking, recalled the sheer terror she felt when she was told Aldi went missing.
She said: «His boss told my husband that he went missing.
«So we just surrendered to God and kept praying hard.
«He is now back at home and he will be 19 on September 30 — we’re going to celebrate.”