Mon, Jan 28, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Nauruans survive 11 days at sea

AFP , MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS

Nauruan fishermen, left to right, Stevie Notte, Gabriel Mwareow and Solomon Tom, who survived 11 days at sea, are seen in Majuro on Saturday. The three men said they survived on the blood and meat of a shark.

PHOTO: AFP

Three Nauruan fishermen who were lost at sea for 11 days and survived on the blood and meat of a shark will get a taste of the high life on Thursday when they hitch a lift back home with Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

The trio were found by a Taiwanese fishing boat off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Jan. 13, about 1,600km from where they were fishing when their runabout broke down earlier in the month.

Stevie Notte, 38, Gabriel Mwareow, 32, and Solomon Tom, 25, had only left the Pacific island of Nauru for a day's fishing and had little food and no water with them.

As they drifted helplessly for 11 days with only a small piece of board to hold up as protection from the sun, they caught one tuna and one shark for food, Notte said.

"We drank the blood of the shark, we were so thirsty," he said.

When there was a brief shower of rain, he said, "we licked the boat to get water."

Nauruan officials asked the Australian navy to assist with the initial search and Notte said that on the fourth and fifth days adrift they saw aircraft flying overhead, but could not attract the pilots' attention.

"What kept me alive was my children. I kept thinking about them. I couldn't die at sea with them waiting for me. I had to try my best to stay alive," Notte said.

On the 11th day, when they saw the fishing boat in the distance, they started a small fire in their aluminum boat so the fishing boat crew would see the smoke.

The Fong Seong 767 dropped a small boat over the side to rescue them and kept the Nauruans on board until it docked in Majuro in the Marshall Islands last week to offload its cargo of tuna.

Taiwanese ambassador in Majuro, Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), said the trio would get a VIP flight home on Thursday when Lu flies from the Marshall Islands to Nauru.

This story has been viewed 5613 times.
TOP top