South Pacific: 3 boys, 50 days, given up for dead

It may be good fortune; it may be a miracle, but whatever the reason, three boys are lucky to be alive after spending 50 days adrift well outside commercial shipping routes. They were found by a fishing boat according to officials in New Zealand.

The two 15 year olds and one 14 year old set out in a small aluminum dinghy back in October rowing in the Atafu Atoll in the Tokelau Islands, a remote sprinkling of islets about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, with plans to travel from one island to another. Supposedly the islands are pretty close and they can be transited quite easily with these small vessels but the boys got disoriented after losing sight of land. The crew of the tuna boat that found them was quite surprised as the trio was 240 miles northeast of Fiji. Their home, the Tokelau Islands, was 750 nautical miles away.

How did they survive? Apparently the boys had 20 coconuts on board when they left home, which they ate within the first couple of days. For the next 48 days, they survived on rainwater, and by catching and eating fish and a sea bird. The fishing boat reported that all three appeared to be famished, dehydrated, exhausted and sunburned when they were found.

The families of the boys are overjoyed at the news. They were so certain the three of them were lost; their village had held memorial services for them. Now, there are plans for a celebration at their return.

Click HERE to read more from William Belle

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