Incredible moment surfers who went missing in storm for two days found are alive
A group of Australian surfers were found alive ‘bobbing’ on their boards in the sea after going missing in a storm for 36 hours.
Elliot Foote, partner Steph Weisse, Will Teagle and Jordan Short, went through the terrifying ordeal while on a surfing trip off the Indonesian coast for Elliot’s 30th birthday.
They and eight other friends set out on two wooden longboats to travel between Nias Island and the Pinang Surf Resort on the Banyak Islands on Sunday.
The 31-mile journey was supposed to take about three hours but bad weather hit and put everyone in danger.
One of the boats headed for an island closer than their destination, Sarang Alu, but Elliot, Steph, Will, Jordan and their three Indonesian crew members tried to make it to Pinang.
They ended up stranded in the middle of the ocean until they were found floating on their boards on Tuesday, along with two of the Indonesian guides.
And footage shows the incredible moment a friend on a search boat spotted Steph, Will and Jordan.
He can be heard whooping for joy before realising Elliot is not with them and asking where he is.
But the surfers were clearly hoping he had already been rescued, with Steph replying: ‘Have you got him?’
It turns out Elliot had become separated from his mates and had paddled towards a nearby island to try and find help. He was found shortly after the other three.
The search continues for the third Indonesian crew member who is still missing.
Elliot’s dad Peter was talking to journalists when his son texted to say he was alive and well.
The message read: ‘Hey Dad, Elliot here. I am alive, safe now, love you. Chat later.’
Peter told reporters: ‘I still want to talk to him. I’m happy, you know, I’m happy like I can talk now, you know, I’m not gonna crack up and break down.
‘I don’t know if I can celebrate. He’s put me through too much pain to celebrate. I’ve aged in the last two days, 100%.’
He went on: ‘They’ve been in the water a long time, I don’t know how they’re going to be health-wise.
‘But they’re found, they’re alive, they’re well. It’s all good, it’s fantastic news. It’s unbelievable actually, I’m so stoked about that.’
The group of 12 mates had planned to rent bungalows on the island and surf its world-class breaks for 10 days.
Families of those missing had put a statement out through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday night.
They said: ‘Our hearts are aching at the thought that Elliot, Steph, Will and Jordan are missing at sea. We continue to pray and hold out hope they will be found.
‘We’d like to thank the Indonesian authorities and the Australian government for their ongoing assistance while search and rescue efforts continue.’
The search went on for 24 hours, after it was launched by local authorities on Monday morning.
Indonesian National Search and Rescue agency Nias Island chief Octavianto previously explained the issue was that the missing boat was a ‘basic wooden vessel without any tracking devices or the like’.
More than 20 police officers, military members and volunteers battled through heavy rain and four-metre waves to find the group.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: ‘The Australian Government expresses its deep gratitude to the Indonesian authorities and others involved in the search and rescue efforts.
‘Two of the three Indonesian crew have also been located. Our thoughts are with the family of the third crew member, for whom the search continues.’
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