A disabled Tonga man swam for 27 hours and 8 miles in the ocean to survive, after being thrown into the sea in the devastating tsunami that hit the islands.
Lisala Fulau, 57, a retired carpenter, was at his home on Atata Island with his son and niece around 6pm last Saturday when a 20-foot tsunami carried them miles offshore.
Adrift and alone, Folau spent the next 27 hours swimming among uninhabited islands, trying in vain to signal passing boats before finally reaching the mainland, where he was picked up by a passing car.
Fulau, who has problems with his legs that make him "walk slower than a child", decided not to seek help because he did not want his son or niece to risk their lives trying to save him. tragically.
Speaking to Tongan radio station Broadcom FM about his unusual experience, he said his brother had warned him about the tsunami. He added that the family rushed outside their house and climbed a tree to escape the wave that swept the island.
Believing that the danger was over, the family descended from the tree, but then the island was exposed to a second wave, Fulau estimated to be more than 20 feet high, which carried them all out to sea.
The man, stranded miles from shore, said he could not see his son or niece in the water, but could hear them calling for him.
After a while his niece's voice stopped, but his son kept calling. He said he made the difficult decision to ignore the tears and remain silent, because he did not want his son or niece to risk their lives trying to save him.
Fulau eventually finds a broken tree, and decides to hang on to it, believing that if he dies, his family will at least have a chance to find his body.
But instead of dying, he drifted to the nearby, uninhabited island of Tokitoki, where he arrived early this past Sunday morning.
The recent eruption of a volcano in the Tonga archipelago caused a tsunami, causing human and material losses. The authorities confirmed the evacuation of some remote islands after destroying homes and an entire village on Mango Island.
Source: Daily Mail - 22-January-2022 - Link https://ar.rt.com/s86b