Rescued trio still after sweet things

Last updated 05:00 29/11/2010
Samuelu Peleha, Etueni Nasau and Filo Filo

RESCUED: Samuelu Peleha, 15, Etueni Nasau, 14, and Filo Filo, 15, photographed on the tuna boat San Nikunau after drifting for 1300 kilometres over 50 days.

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The three Tokelauan boys who survived a 50-day ordeal at sea are out of hospital – and on the lookout for chocolate.

The trio from Atafu island had been eating porridge and soup, but requested one of the many creature comforts of dry land on Saturday. A shower was the first thing they wanted, Phillip Taula, acting head of the New Zealand mission to Fiji, said. Next came chocolate: "They must have been dreaming about chocolate for a long time."

Samuela Peleha, 15, and Filo Filo, 15, were discharged from hospital on Friday evening, hours after they reached Fiji on the New Zealand fishing boat San Nikunau. Its crew had found the three boys adrift by chance. Etueni Nasau, 14, the weakest of the trio, remained in hospital until Sunday morning when he was discharged and joined his friends for a church service.

The boys are said to have set off at night for a neighbouring atoll in search of a girl – but drifted 1300 kilometres off course.

Kuresa Nasau, a Tokelau leader and Etueni's uncle, said he treated the boys as nephews. They were "like brothers", and their closeness would have given them strength during the ordeal. "I have had an expectation they would be found, I don't know why but I [was] sure they would."

The dinghy the boys set off in was one of the island's best, and very difficult to capsize, he said.

After the trio vanished, islanders held services twice a day to pray for a safe return – but never a memorial service, as was earlier reported.

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- The Dominion Post

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