Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss
A young fisherman assumed dead by his family has been rescued after he spent 56 days at sea – battling thirst, hunger and despair on a tiny boat that drifted 3,000km from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea.

Rolando Omongos, 21, recounted an astonishing tale of survival as he arrived from his first-ever plane ride at Manila airport, three weeks after his rescue by a Japanese fishing vessel.

‘I cried non-stop when I was finally rescued. I was too weak to stand up and they had to carry me,’ Mr Omongos said.

 He said he survived only on rainwater and moss growing at the hull of his 2.5-metre long boat, finding respite from the heat of the tropical sun by diving into the water frequently.

Mr Omongos weighed just over 20kg when he was rescued – after losing 41kg of his body weight during the ordeal.

His 31-year-old uncle Reniel Omongos, who was on a second small boat, died after a month.

He believes hunger and exposure killed the older man.

Mr Omongos said he latched his uncle’s body onto his boat for a few days but later let it sink into the water when it began to smell.

 filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

The young fisherman was spotted at sea by a Japanese vessel after 56 long days

 filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss 1 Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

The 21-year-old weighed only 20kg after losing 68 per cent of his body weight at sea

‘God, please take care of my uncle. I have to stay alive so somebody would bring the news [to our kin],’ he said he prayed.

The men had set off on December 21 with other fishermen aboard a purse seiner from General Santos, a southern Philippine port facing the Celebes Sea.

READ ALSO:   Garth - 23rd August 2017

The port lies more than 3,200 kilometres (nearly 2,000 miles), north-west of the PNG island of New Britain, where the rescuers later dropped the survivor off.

A storm separated Mr Omongos and his uncle from their mother boat on January 10, and they ran out of fuel five days later.

They later tossed their small boat engines overboard so they would float higher and avoid being swamped by huge waves.

 filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss 2 Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

View of Makar Wharf, the main international sea port of General Santos where Mr Omongos boarded his boat

 filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss 3 Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

The boat Mr Omongos spent 56 days on was only two metres long and he was forced to survive on moss he grew on the hull (stock image)

‘No fewer than four vessels would pass us by each day. I would wave at them but they would not stop for us,’ the Mr Omongos said.

He said the ships and fishing boats apparently failed to see their tiny vessels bobbing about 3-5 kilometres away.

‘I never lost hope. I was always praying,’ he added.

‘I told myself, at least one of us had to get back home.’

 filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss 4 Filipino fisherman survives 56 days at sea eating moss

He said: ‘No fewer than four vessels would pass us by each day. I would wave at them but they would not stop for us’

When the Japanese fishing vessel Wakaba Maru found him, Omongos said he was very weak and emaciated, having been reduced to eating moss once every few days.

The fisherman, who quit school after sixth grade, said he planned to rest after flying home to General Santos on Thursday, but vowed never to set foot on a boat again.

READ ALSO:   Would YOU Contribute to a Couple's Honeymoon Fund?

‘Maybe I will go back to school instead,’ he added.

Categories: Odd, World

About Author

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*