A Filipino fisherman tells his calvary of nearly two months | Cecil MORELLA
21-year-old Rolando Omongos recounted his incredible adventure on his return to Manila – the first airplane trip of his life – three weeks after he was rescued by a Japanese fishing boat.
"I cried incessantly when I was finally saved. I was too weak to stand up: they had to carry me, "said the puny young man to the reporters.
He said he survived thanks to the rainwater and the moss that had grown on the hull of his tiny 2.5-meter long skiff, protecting himself from the tropical sun by plunging frequently into the water.
His uncle Reniel Omongos, 31, who was on a second small boat, died after a month.
Rolando placed his body on his own boat, but let it sink a few days later "when it began to smell bad."
He said to pray: "God, please, take care of my uncle. I have to stay alive so someone can bring the news "to the family.
The two men had left December 21 with other fishermen, General Santos, at the southern end of the Philippines.
The port is located more than 3,200 kilometers northwest of the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, near which he was finally landed by his rescuers.
A storm had separated Rolando Omongos and his uncle from their accompanying boat on 10 January, and they had run out of fuel five days later.
They then threw their engines overboard to be able to float better and escape the big waves.
"We saw at least four boats a day, but none stopped," he said.
"I never lost hope. I have always prayed, "he concluded.
When he was rescued, Rolando Omongos weighed only about 20 kilos. He vowed never again to set foot on a boat.
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