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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 03:53 GMT
Tsunami man's two-week sea ordeal
Ari Afrizal
Ari Afrizal's home town of Calang has been destroyed
An Acehnese man swept out to sea by the tsunami has been rescued two full weeks after the wave destroyed his home town.

Ari Afrizal had lived on makeshift rafts and a leaky fishing boat until he was spotted by an Arab container ship at midday on Sunday.

At first Mr Afrizal, 21, feared the ship's crew had not spotted him, but after passing him once it returned and plucked him from the water.

He is the third Indonesian rescued from the open water since the tsunami.

Speaking on his arrival at a Malaysian port before being taken to hospital for medical checks, Mr Afrizal told how he had given up hope of surviving his ordeal before his rescue.

"I managed to survive as I ate the flesh of old coconuts for about 12 days.

"For three days I didn't get to eat anything. I gave up all hope of living."

'I knew I was safe'

Ari Afrizal was building a house with friends in the Aceh town of Calang when the tsunami struck on 26 December.

Caught up in the wave, he was first pushed inland and then sucked out to sea when the tsunami waters receded.

Makeshit raft on which Ari Afrizal was found
The man survived on a makeshift raft
For 24 hours he clung to a log to survive.

Then he clambered inside a damaged wooden boat before finally settling on a raft cobbled together from floating debris.

Mr Afrizal waved repeatedly at passing ships, but none stopped for him.

When the UAE-registered al-Yamamah appeared on the horizon Mr Afrizal was determined to be seen.

"I managed to whistle at the ship and then waved my hands. The ship sped on but it sounded the klaxon and I stood up.

"I thought the ship had left the area and I sat down and cried. But the ship returned and cheered me up." he said.

"I then waved at them as I knew I was safe."

A pregnant woman survived five days at sea by clinging to a palm tree, and another man was found by a cargo ship after eight days aboard an uprooted tree.



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