(RNN) - Aldi Novel Adilang thought he would never see his parents again.
The Indonesian 18-year-old spent 49 days adrift at sea before a Panamanian-flagged ship spotted him off Guam on Aug. 31. By that point, he’d drifted 1,200 miles from his original location, according to the Associated Press.
Adilang worked as a lamplighter on a floating wooden fish trap called a rompong. The ropes that helped anchor the trap to the seabed broke and sent it adrift.
Adilang told the AP he ran out of food within a week at sea. To combat starvation, he performed his trade.
He used lamps to attract fish and harvested them once a week.
Rain provided drinking water. But when it didn’t rain for days at a time, Adilang had to get resourceful.
“I had to soak my clothes in the sea, then I squeezed and drank the water,” he told the AP.
Whenever a ship passed by, he turned on the lamps, hoping to get someone’s attention.
“It was early morning on Aug. 31 when I saw the ship and I lighted up the lamp and shouted ‘help’ using the HT (portable radio),” he said. “The ship had passed about one mile but then it turned to me. Might be because I used the English word. Then they talked on the HT.”
The ship that rescued Adilang, the MV Arpeggio, contacted the Indonesian mission in Japan when it docked in Tokuyama.
Officials from the consulate collected him on Sept. 6 and returned him to Indonesia on Sept. 8.
His father, Alfian Adilang, said the family is elated to have him home, but they're furious with his employers. He said this is the third time his son’s raft has drifted away.
The first two times, he was rescued by the owner’s ship.
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