A lonely fisherman, lost at sea for 15 weeks and having slept next to the body of his dead brother-in-law, is rescued by none other than a 6-foot shark.
The fisherman, Toaki Teitoi (41), was lost at sea after having run out of fuel and drifting out into the Pacific during a fishing/travel expedition between the Marshall Islands east of Malaysia. Sky News reports that the ordeal began on May 27 after Mr. Teitoi flew to the Kriribai capital of Tarawa to be sworn in as a new policeman, after wish he decided to take a boat with his brother-in-law Lelu Falaile (52) back to the island of Maiana to do a quick two hour fishing journey. After fishing they decided to rest the night, during which their boat drifted out to sea and they became lost.
Mr. Falaile died on July 4 due to extreme dehydration, with Mr. Teitoi sleeping next to his body for the night prior to giving him a burial at sea the next day. Shortly thereafter it rained and Mr. Teitoi was able to collect water for himself in two five gallon containers which he rationed for himself as he slept under the boat’s bow to escape the tropical sun.
The first signs of possible rescue came on September 11 when Mr. Teitoi caught sight of a fishing boat. Failing to be able to signal the boat at great distance the fishing boat simply moved on and Mr. Teitoi continued to sleep under the bow of his 15 foot wooden boat in the hopes of some rescue coming again.
After waiting for what must have felt like forever Mr. Teitoi was woken up by the sound of bumping and scratching against his boat’s hull, leading him to look overboard and see a shark circling his craft. As the shark then swam off Mr. Teitoi looked up to see another fishing boat with its crew looking straight at him.
The fishing vessel, called the Marshalls 203, picked up Mr. Teitoi shortly thereafter, after which Mr. Teitoi’s first request was not for food or water but for a cigarette from his rescuing crew. Ignoring his request they took him to see their captain who provided him with both food and juice to help him regain his strength.
With Mr. Teitoi’s life apparently not in danger the fishing vessel continued about its duties for a few more days before returning to dock at Majuro, over 400 miles from where Mr. Teitoi began his journey.