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This Family, Lost In Sea For 38 Days, Survived On Onions And Rubber Tubes

Curated By: Buzz Staff

Local News Desk

Last Updated: April 01, 2023, 19:20 IST

Delhi, India

The family was rescued by a Japanese trawler boat.

The family was rescued by a Japanese trawler boat.

The family’s tale will remind you of the movie Life of Pi.

The popular movie Life of Pi was a mesmerising experience for many but more than anything, the film narrated the story of a teenage boy, who was at sea for several days with a tiger. Something similar happened with Douglas Robertson, 18, when he was out sailing at sea with his family. But his experience went south when the boat sank.

This fascinating story of survival may not have a tiger, but it still makes for a thrilling one. Douglas’ dad was on the verge of bankruptcy which made him take the decision to pack up the stuff with his wife and kids, and take them sailing around the world. However, their boat sank, and the family spent nearly six weeks at sea in a tiny “dinghy”.

The story dates back to 1971 and everything was going smoothly until a pod of killer whales attacked the boat thinking of it as another whale, about 200 miles away from Galapagos Islands. “The blows were like sledgehammers smashing into the hull. We began to sink. Water was ­everywhere and I was terrified. All I could hear was Dad shouting, ‘Abandon ship!’ I called back, ‘Where to? We’re in the middle of the ocean.’ He shouted, ‘Overboard man! Get in the raft,’” Douglas stated to The Mirror.

While everything seemed chaotic, things settled down about a couple of minutes later and the family was sitting in a small fibreglass lifeboat. A total of six people including Douglas’s dad, mum, two twin brothers and deckhand Robin saw their yacht sink into the sea.

They had enough water for 10 days, plus some food and sweets. “Someone had grabbed a bag of onions,” Douglas informed. From there, Douglas and his family did everything to survive at sea.

The group of six caught 13 turtles and tied them up. He explained that the turtle’s meat tasted like steak and even had eggs from inside the sea creature.

From creating an enema system to receive water from the backside to sucking on pieces of rubber trying to create saliva to ease their thirst on a sunny day, the group of six endured everything one could imagine. Finally, 38 days later, a Japanese trawler boat spotted them and they were rescued.

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first published:April 01, 2023, 19:20 IST
last updated:April 01, 2023, 19:20 IST