Miracle at Sea: Teens Rescued From Pacific Make It to Land

Video: South Carolina boaters rescued from the sea.
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The three Pacific island teenagers rescued this week after 50 days adrift at sea in a small boat have landed in Fiji, where they are receiving medical attention.

Other than looking thin and reportedly suffering from dehydration, the teenagers appeared in good health. They smiled and waved for the cameras that were awaiting for them in Suva, the Fijian capital where they were taken by the tuna vessel that rescued them.

The three teens -- Edward Nasau, 14, and 15-year-olds Samu Perez and Filo Filo -- were found Wednesday adrift in their small aluminum boat northeast of Fiji, the BBC reported.

"I thank God for keeping us alive all this while, while were drifting out in open sea," Nasau, 14, told The Associated Press. "We prayed every day that someone will find us and rescue us."

Natives of the Tokelau Islands, a New Zealand territory in the south Pacific, the teenagers had been presumed dead. At least one of their families had even held a memorial service for him.

They told the tuna vessel operators that they survived on nothing but coconuts, water trapped by a tarpaulin and a seabird that landed on their boat.

In an interview with Radio New Zealand, Tai Fredricsen, first mate of San Nikunau, the tuna vessel that spotted the teens, said they spent the time on his ship listening to music and watching cartoons.

"In the physical sense they looked very physically depleted," Fredricsen told Radio New Zealand but said their spirits were high as they repeatedly thanked their rescuers.

Samu Perez's aunt told the BBC after her nephew's rescue that the boy's family had already held a memorial service for him.

"My mum, she cried very day and every night," Fekei said. "We believed he was still alive anyway. We thought that God was still with them."

The woman told the BBC that the teens may have been trying to sail to Australia or the United States. She has spoken by phone with Perez, she told the BBC, and said he was asking for forgiveness.

"I think they did learn a big lesson," she said.

Rescued Teens Ate a Seabird to Stay Alive

The boys told the tuna vessel workers that after losing their way during a sporting event, they used the nightly rains to catch drinking water, Fredricsen told the radio station. But during the past two days of their ordeal, they were forced to drink seawater, which rapidly dehydrated them.

"They said they had last eaten almost two weeks prior to us rescuing them," Fredricsen said, relaying how the boys described to him catching and killing a seabird.

Fredricsen said he told the boys they were smart to eat the bird rather than trying to catch fish, which would have further dehydrated them.

Once onboard Fredricsen said he and his crew were careful to give the boys just small amounts of liquid at a time to prevent them from becoming ill, and then small amounts of food such as pieces of an apple.

Fredricsen called the rescue "very morale up lifting" and noted that the boys were found in an area that sees little to not boat traffic. Even Fredricsen's boat rarely travels that way but did this time.

"There's a lot of living left in them," he told the radio station.

The boys are expected to be taken to Samoa on Monday, where they will wait two weeks for a boat to take them home, New Zealand's TV3 reported, according to The Associated Press.

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