Survivor clung to floating tree and ate coconuts
Thursday 06 January 2005
For eight days Rizal Shahputra clung on for dear life, adrift in the Indian Ocean on an uprooted palm tree as one by one scores of his family, friends and neighbours slipped below the water's surface around him.
He had been cleaning the mosque in his home at Banda Aceh when the tsunami struck. Grabbing whatever he could to keep afloat, he was sucked 100 miles out to sea.
He survived on a diet of floating coconuts and rainwater and, sunburnt and suffering cuts and bruises, he was rescued by a passing container ship and taken to the Malaysia's Port Klang, where yesterday he described his escape.
"At first, there were some friends with me ... After a few days, they were gone. ... I saw bodies left and right," the 23-year-old said. "Everybody sank, my family members sank. There were bodies around me."
The first he knew of the tsunami was when children rushed in to the mosque to warn him. But the surging waves swept them out to sea before they could escape.
During his eight days afloat at least one ship sailed by without noticing him before the crew of the Japanese-owned MV Durban Bridge spotted him floating 100 miles west of Aceh. The ship's chief officer, Huang Wen Feng, described Mr Shaputra's survival as a miracle. "When I saw him, I was very very surprised to see someone standing," he said. "He was shouting at us. I couldn't believe it."
It was the second such sea rescue following the tsunami. On Friday, a Malaysian tuna-fishing boat rescued a 23-year-old woman from Aceh who had clung on to the trunk of a palm tree for five days
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy, friendly and creative marketing ag...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Wes...