Two men rescued after five months at sea in motor boat

Michael Bolong and Ambros Wavut survived for five months at sea by drinking rainwater and catching fish

Two men from Papua New Guinea have been rescued from a drifting motor boat, after spending five months at sea.

Michael Bolong, 54, and his nephew Ambros Wavut, 28, were released from hospital earlier this week, following their rescue last month.

They explained how they survived by drinking rainwater and catching fish. A third man on board, Francis Dimansol, 48, did not survive the ordeal.

The men had set off from Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea on 15 July, hoping to make the 53-mile journey to Tanga Island.

But when their motor boat ran out of fuel, they were left to drift at sea in stormy weather, eventually being carried 700 miles off course to Micronesia.

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The surviving pair knew that a rescue mission was unlikely. “After weeks, a month, we were forgotten,” Michael told the Federated States of Micronesia Information Office (FSMIO).

Luckily the fishing vessel Yap Seagull spotted their small boat at 4am on 23 November.

The FSMIO praised the actions of the crew, saying: “While it is reported that some vessels have failed to render assistance to persons that they encounter at sea who are in distress, the Yap Seagull performed admirably and rendered assistance without question. “

Following a short period of observation at Pohnpei State Hospital, both men were released. The FSMIO added that “both survivors are fine and showed no signs of serious health problems”.

The Micronesian government is currently arranging for the men to be sent home to Papua New Guinea.

For more sea survival stories, read’s feature on sailor John Glennie, who survived for 119 days at sea.


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