Man swept away by Tonga tsunami and survived swimming for 27 hours… A tribute to ‘Real Aquaman’

After being swept away by the Tongan tsunami, Risala Polau survived by swimming 13 km in 27 hours. New York Post website capture

A man who was swept away by a tsunami caused by an undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga, an island country in the South Pacific, returned alive after swimming for 27 hours.

According to foreign media such as Reuters and the New York Post on the 20th (local time), Risala Polau (57), a retired carpenter, was carried away by the tsunami that hit the Tonga Islands on the 15th and wandered about 13 km on two uninhabited islands. swam and returned to the main island.

The story of survival that Paulau revealed on the Tonga radio broadcast ‘Broadcom FM’ was like a disaster movie. Just before the tsunami hit, Paulau was relaxing and painting at his house on the small island of Atata, which has a population of about 60, north of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga. Coincidentally, his brother and niece were together at home to help him.

The waves crashed over the shore as usual, but they came closer than usual and repeatedly fell. However, the waves that wet the living room and entered the house suddenly turned into a tsunami of more than 6 meters around 7 pm when it got dark. “There was nothing to catch,” Plow recalled. “I was swept out to sea with my niece.” He climbed a tree to escape, but was swept away by another big wave.

Paulau, who was being carried to and fro all night on the waves, screamed, but there was no one there, and he was carried away by the waves and arrived at the nearby Toketoke Island. On the morning of the 16th, he found a Tonga police patrol boat passing nearby and desperately waved a cloth to ask for rescue, but the patrol boat passed by as if he had not seen him.

Eventually he decided to swim. Polau left Toketoke Island around 10 am and arrived at Polar Island around 6 pm. They screamed in search of people on the island, but it was another uninhabited island. Tonga, an archipelago of 170 islands, is inhabited by only 36 islands.

After jumping back into the sea, Paulau did everything he could to cut the current and arrived at Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga. The time was around 10:00 on the night of the 16th. It had only been 27 hours since the tsunami swept away. He walked out onto the road, caught a passing car and was rescued. “My younger sister, who has diabetes, and my youngest daughter, who has heart disease, blinked in my eyes,” said Paulau, recalling her last swim toward the main island.

His 2 Days 1 Night, like a disaster movie, is rapidly spreading through social network services (SNS). One user called him “Aquaman in real life.” The British daily The Guardian said that the death or death of Paulau’s niece and other children is unknown, but there were no Atata residents among the three deaths confirmed by authorities. An official from the American Samoa Swimming Association said, “It’s surprising for even a very experienced swimmer to swim like this in the dark.” As it is known that he has a disability that prevents him from walking, his survival is even more commendable.

Kim Cheong-hwan reporter



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