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
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...