A birthday “unforgettable trip to a private island” turned out to be an extreme experience for four tourists who spent 36 hours in the water. Tourists miraculously survived in the open ocean, and only an active rescue operation saved them from a tragic outcome. It all happened to the Australians in the waters off the coast of the Indonesian province of Aceh.
Four Australians – Elliot Foote, Steph Weiss, Jordan Short and Will Teagle – have been reported missing since Sunday evening when their boat was caught in a storm en route to the remote Banyac Islands, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Also in the water were three Indonesians – members of the team.
The first to be found were three hikers – Weisse, Short and Teagle, as well as two members of the Indonesian team – who were found on Tuesday morning. The fourth Australian – Elliot Futa was found later at a distance of more than 20 nautical miles. As it turned out, he left the group and tried to swim to the nearby island of Pulau Palambakbesar on his surfboard to find help. He was rescued by a local fisherman and taken to the nearest surf camp in Nias. The search for the third Indonesian crew member was still ongoing on Tuesday.
According to the press, the rescue of tourists was facilitated by “coordination between all parties involved”: friends of tourists coordinated their actions with the Australian government, and the government of Indonesia. A private plane, as well as boats and yachts, were involved in the search for tourists.
As one of the found Australians stated: “We were saved by the fact that we remained friends and looked after each other during these two days, while we were lost at sea. At the same time, although the tourists said that they “will never forget this”, none of them plans to interrupt their trip to Indonesia and return to Australia.
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