Four Australian surfers were filmed being rescued after going missing when their boat capsized in a storm.
The four surfers went missing off of Indonesia’s Aceh province on Sunday night, when traveling to Pinang Island with a group of 11 others on dueling wooden speed boats when they encountered heavy rain and rough waters.
One of the boat’s wisely stopped at Sarang Alu island for shelter, but the one carrying Elliot Foote, Steph Weisse, Will Teagle, and Jordan Short and three Indonesian crew members continued on.
The boat was too small to handle the extreme waves, and the surfers new they needed to bail to survive.
“The waves were high and we all discussed quickly and decided to swim to the nearest island using the last rays of sunset as our guide,” the boat’s captain told ABC News.
They Australians grabbed their surfboards and jumped into the sea as soon as the boat took on water. The boat capsized and the crew members remained with the wreckage, while the surfers paddled towards an island to get help.
The second boat arrived at the resort on Pinang Island and officials realized that the one carrying the four Australians had gone missing.
On Monday Morning, Indonesian authorities mobilized a search effort that included rescue agencies at air and see, along with the help of local fisherman and privet charter vessels. Despite their efforts, no survivors were found by Monday night.
Tuesday morning brought new hope when another Australian, Grant Richardson, who volunteered in the search with his catamaran, found Weisse, Teagle, and Short floating on their surfboards.
They also found the captain and another crew member, but Foote, who’s 30th birthday celebration was the reason for their trip, remained lost at sea after separating from the group to paddle for help.
Hours later, Foote was found by local fisherman who took him to a nearby surf camp, all six survivors were evacuated to Pinang Island.
“Thanks to the Aussie guy on the catamaran who volunteered his time … he searched all last night and he knows the waters really well, he lives over there and he was the one who found them,” Foote’s father commented to reporters.
“There were some moments out there where we were quite nervous and didn’t quite know what the outcome was going to be, but we just banded together,” Foote said about their ordeal.
“Every single moment, we just knew what to do and took charge and followed each other and there were no arguments. We were just strong as a unit.”
Richardson has been praised as an everyday hero, but demurred when speaking about the rescue.
“The local people here on the island … that lost one of their own, they’re the true heroes,” he remarked.
Unfortunately, 23-year-old crew member Fifan Satria has not been recovered, and hope is running out. The search effort will continue until Sunday.
The group of surfers are grateful to be alive, but horrified that Satria has not been found.
“The last few days have been something that I cannot comprehend. My emotions are incredibly mixed; elation, guilt, complete adrenaline, anxiety, pure joy and happiness,” Foote wrote on his Instagram page Thursday.
“My deepest thoughts are with the family of Fifan. Our joyful young guide who hasn’t been found,” the message continued.
“I wish there was more we could have done to help you, and that will stay with me as a burden to bear. I understand the loneliness you must’ve felt in those hours by yourself.”