Shark Rescues Man Adrift in Pacific Ocean

Toakai Teitoi of Kiribati credits a shark with his dramatic rescue at sea after 105 days adrift.

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Who's afraid of this bad boy?

Toakai Teitoi of Kiribati, a Micronesian island nation 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, did not think calamity was awaiting him when he agreed to get a lift on his brother-in-law’s boat. A two-hour sea journey turned into a 105-day odyssey, filled with death and despair, that ended with a miracle.

On May 28 Teitoi, 41, and his brother-in-law Ielu Falaile, 52, got into a 15-foot wooden boat that would take them back to Teitoi’s hometown of Maiana from the capital of Tarawa, where Teitoi had flown to be sworn in as a policeman.

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Halfway through their journey the two men came upon a school of fish and decided to stop for a while to catch some. But engrossed in the fishing, the two soon lost track of time — and worse, their reserves of water and gas, Teitoi told the newspaper Marianas Variety.

For the next five weeks, Teitoi and Falaile drifted on the central Pacific Ocean, beset by dehydration. On July 4, roughly 38 days after they set out, Teitoi woke up to find his brother-in-law dead.

“I left him there overnight and slept next to him like at a funeral,” Teitoi told the newspaper. He gave the body a burial at sea the next day.

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A few days later, a storm hit after five weeks of drought. Teitoi, revitalized with fresh water, felt he had narrowly escaped death, at least for now.

“There were two choices in my mind at the time. Either someone would find me or I would follow my brother-in-law,” the father of six said. “It was out of my control.”

A Catholic, Teitoi said he prayed often during those long and hopeless days. Besides praying, he spent much of his time shielding from the sun by hiding under a small cover in the bow.

On the morning of September 11, he faced yet another setback when a ship some distance away seemed to have passed him by. With nothing else to do, he took a nap in the bow after eating fish for breakfast.

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What happened next baffled Teitoi: A six-foot shark banged on the hull with the intention, he said, to wake him up. The shark circled around the boat, and then suddenly swam off. When Teitoi raised his head, he saw the stern of the ship that he thought had missed him earlier. The crew was looking at him through their binoculars, he said.

“He was guiding me to a fishing boat,” Teitoi said of the shark, whom he now credits with his rescue. After a few more days at sea, Teitoi was scheduled to be reunited with his family on Sept. 16, and would finally be able to start his duty as a policeman in Maiana. Asked how he would like to return home, he answered resolutely.

“I’m taking a plane,” he told the newspaper.

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16 comments
SkyMKinley
SkyMKinley

wow... I can't believe I wasted my time reading this. LOL

finny_thing_bout_that
finny_thing_bout_that

Later, Teitoi pointed out the same shark, with one pectoral film missing. When asked what happened, he said "A shark like this you don't eat all at once."

TedNarcotic
TedNarcotic

Fair is fair, you give me a hand,  I give you a hand, mmm.. tasty.

MrBearandMrsbear
MrBearandMrsbear

blessed be that shark......if i were there i'd give the shark a big hug and shake his fin.

Disquskurr
Disquskurr like.author.displayName 1 Like

I just spoke to the Shark .

She said she is deeply disappointed at missing out on a good meal.

She is also hurt at the way the media is portraying her.

She told me, under no circumstances , did she try to guide the haplessly lost fisherman to a fishing boat.All she hoped was that the guy would jump in the water and she could have a eating frenzy. Instead she got her character questioned.

Not fair she feels.

PS: She has deactivated her Face Book account indefinitely.

Skipdallas
Skipdallas

Yeah, she told me on her Twitter acct. that after supposedly saving this guy, all she got was a lousy tee shirt! Damn! she said with a pronounced lisp!

RJ Silva
RJ Silva

Thanks for the most misleading headline ever. What a waste of time.

Traci Fannin-Poole
Traci Fannin-Poole

This news article reminds me of Hemmingway's classic, "The Old Man and the Sea"

max4374
max4374

Religion will make you believe in anything.  Then again, maybe that's what kept him alive.

JohnOBX
JohnOBX

Riiiiiight.

But after 5 weeks in a small boat eating raw fish and drinking stale water, I'd probably be ready to believe just about anything, too.

P.S.  When the name of your magazine is "Time" and then you misspell the word "time" in your article (or your editor doesn't catch it), that pretty much qualifies as a semi-epic fail.