Mon, Jan 24, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Tribesman rescued from Indian island after 25 days

DPA , New Delhi

Michael Mangal had lost all hopes of rescue from the tiny Andaman and Nicobar island he was thrown back onto by disastrous tsunami waves on Dec. 26.

For almost twenty five days he lived on the devastated island. With no food to eat and no other survivors, only the hope of help kept him living.

Mangal, a Nicobarese tribesmen, lived on coconuts along the devastated coast until he was finally spotted and rescued by a relief team; he was waving a flag made from his tattered clothes.

Mangal told his rescuers how the tsunami waves had sucked him into the sea then threw him back onto the shore on that fateful day. He said he was destined to live.

After the tide receded, he walked back to his destroyed village on Pillopanja island, one of several tiny islands in the Andaman and Nicobar chain.

The village was deserted; it seemed no-one had survived the tragedy. He then climbed up a hilly tract and continued to live there, with coconuts his food for survival.

About 7,500 people, among them many Nicobarese, died in the tragedy. The island chain had a population of over 356,000. Numbering in the hundreds, only 36 of the islands were inhabited before the disaster.

Another survivor of the tsunami disaster , Uttam Tete was not so lucky even after he was rescued. Uttam lived in Lapathi village on Car Nicobar island until the deadly waves washed away the population.

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