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Fishermen survive after 11 days at sea
By Li Dapeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-29 06:51

FUZHOU: Two fishermen cast adrift at sea for 11 days have told how they survived on only 2 kilograms of freshwater and their own urine before being rescued.

A fishing vessel brought Liang Xipeng and Zeng Yingzhong to safety after finding their boat, which had drifted from Fujian to Guangdong sea area for about 150 sea miles after it developed engine trouble.

The pair spoke of their ordeal on their return to Xiaxi Village of Chongwu County, Quanzhou in East China's Fujian Province on Monday.

"It was really a miracle that we eventually came back alive," said Liang, who lost more than 10 kilograms during the ordeal.

Liang set out to sea with his fellow villager on December 10. But the engine broke down shortly afterwards, and the boat then developed a leak. They had to bail out huge amounts of water in the days that followed before being found.

As they had only planned to fish for the day in the nearby sea area, they did not take any food and only had a pot of freshwater.

Problems grew when a wave spilled on to their boat and overturned the pot, leaving only about 2 kilograms of water left.

They rationed themselves each to one bowl of water daily, but the supplies ran out after four days.

They had nothing in the following three days and were so thirsty that Liang suggested they should drink their own urine.

"We had no choice but to close our eyes and forced ourselves to drink it," Liang said. Four days later they were found by a passing fishing ship.

Liang told reporters that during their time at sea they had to bail water out of the leaking boat every day. In the last few days, the frail pair worked in shifts.

When they were saved, there was about 1,500 kilograms of sea water in the vessel.

The two men said they lit diesel oil to try to keep out the cold weather.

After they were reported missing, Quanzhou Maritime Bureau organized helicopters and patrol ships to search the area, but discovered nothing.

Officials believed that if they fell into the sea they were unlikely to survive.

"Ten days had passed, and we were almost in despair," said Zeng's daughter. "But thankfully we finally heard the good news."

(China Daily 12/29/2005 page3)

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