Surfers Saved After 36 Hours at Sea

( – Four Australian surfers and two Indonesian crewmen have been found alive and well after bad weather caused their boat to capsize in the seas near Indonesia. The four Australian friends, Elliot Foote, Will Teagle, Steph Weisse and Jordan Short decided to celebrate Foote’s thirtieth birthday by taking a trip as part of a group of 17 people, including crew members, to the Indonesian island of Pinang.

Pinang is a popular spot with surfers as it is home to beautiful, clean beaches, and excellent surfing conditions in its waters. The pleasure trip turned dangerous, however, when the group ran into stormy weather at sea and one of the 30-foot boats capsized. The other boat managed to moor safely at Sarang Alu island.

The capsized boat’s captain, Yunardi Ardi, told reporters that when his boat sank on Sunday, August 13, the 7 people aboard tried to stay afloat by using their surfboards. He said that the Australians in the group started to paddle, while the Indonesians stayed where they were to begin with. He saw one crewmate looking “weak” while being pulled by the water away from the group and towards Singkil, a town on Sumatra’s west coast. The crewmate, Fifan Satria, has still not been found, despite search crews working in the area since Sunday. Indonesia’s search and rescue authority, known as Basarnas, officially called off the search for Satria on Tuesday, August 15.

Basarnas rescuers were not the only parties who combed the waters in search of the missing seafarers. Elliot Foote’s father, Peter, had begun his own search and rescue mission after his son remained missing despite his three friends being found together. Elliot had swum away from his friends earlier in an effort to reach land and get help for the group. His father launched his own attempt to find him, using boats and attempting to get help from people with helicopters and airplanes. In the end, it was an Australian volunteer with a catamaran who managed to find Elliot and bring him back to land. Elliot was described as being well and happy, apparently only suffering a case of surfboard rash after his ordeal at sea.

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