Adil Novel Adilang is an Indonesian teenager who is accustomed to a life of loneliness. At the age of 18, he is employed as a lamplighter on a rompong, or floating hut and earns $130 per month. His work is to keep the lamps on the hut lit in order to attract the fish. He had been doing this for the past two years. The only company he has out there is that of the owner who came once a week with a supply of provisions that included drinking water. Of course, Adil had a hand held radio to maintain contact with other boats.

Sky News reports that the teenager from Indonesia suddenly discovered himself adrift in the sea after the mooring of the floating hut got separated in a storm.

He kept drifting for 49 days before he was rescued by a vessel on 31 August from near the Pacific island of Guam which has a US base.

His survival instinct saved him

It was nothing short of a miracle for the Indonesian teenager that he managed to keep his spirits high and waged a lone battle to survive at sea for seven weeks. The floating boat was not equipped with any means of navigation like paddles, neither was there any engine because it was meant to remain moored in one place.

The result was drifting with the winds that took him away to Guam, situated nearly 1500 miles from his home.

Once his stock of food was exhausted, he had to depend on gifts of nature. He caught fish and ate them and when it did not rain, he had no other alternative but to rely on the sea water. There was no help in the high seas and he did make attempts to attract the attention of ships passing in the distance but, he had to wait till 31 August for his rescue.

It was a Panamanian-flagged vessel. It had gone past him but returned, probably because he was able to communicate with them in English through his hand-held radio. It seems the boy had faced similar situations in the past but had never drifted so far before. With those incidents, he was rescued by his employer. That did not happen this time.

The rescue mission

According to ABC News, the Indonesian Consulate in Osaka, Japan, took over custody of Adil Novel Adilang from the Panamanian-flagged vessel MV Arpeggio on Sept. 6. Two days later, the authorities made arrangements for his return to Indonesia. The portable hand-held radio, known in local language as a handy-talky or HT, proved to be the teenager’s savior. He is the youngest son of four siblings, and he wants to have nothing more to do a job involving a floating boat.