Four Australian surfers who spent 36 hours missing at sea after their boat capsized off Indonesia in bad weather have made the heartbreaking decision to part ways with their crew in a desperate effort to get help sooner.
Elliot Foote, his girlfriend Steph Weisse and his friends Will Teagle and Jordan Short washed up in the waters off the Indonesian island of Sumatra after their wooden rowboat ran into rough conditions on Sunday evening.
They were stranded at sea in the middle of the ocean for almost two days until they were finally rescued on Tuesday morning.
Mohammad Iqbal and a second Indonesian boat crew member aboard the crashed boat were also rescued.
However, the miraculous rescue is tinged with sadness that the group’s guide, Fifan Satrio, is still missing.
Rescued Australian surfers are heartbroken as their Indonesian guide Fifan Satrio (pictured) has still not been found
After nearly 24 hours wasted at sea, Mr Iqbal recalled how Australians paddled forward in the desperate quest to find help.
He and the other crew member stayed with Mr. Satrio, who was not a good swimmer and could not keep up with the group.
“The outsiders paddled very fast but we couldn’t keep up and had to deal with Fifan,” Mr Iqbal said. The Australian.
“I tried to give Fifan a lot of encouragement. I reminded him to tie his surfboard to his body so that no matter what – if he felt dizzy or passed out – he wouldn’t sink. not in the sea.
“I told him that if he didn’t and he passed out, he might not be found.”
Mr. Iqbal last saw Mr. Satrio on Monday afternoon, clinging to a surfboard and a life jacket undone.
The search for Mr Satrio is continuing but is expected to be called off on Sunday.
Mr Satrio’s mother tearfully appealed for the search to continue at a local service attended by the four Australians on Thursday evening.
The Australians are delighted to be back on dry land but are heartbroken as their Indonesian guide remains lost at sea.
Elliot Foote (with his girlfriend Steph Weisse) paid tribute to their missing guide on Thursday
the four Australian surfers (pictured with friends on dry land) rowed ahead of their Indonesian crew members in the hope of getting help sooner
Elliot Foote and friends (pictured) are staying in Indonesia to celebrate his 30th birthday
“We had great service last night with Fifan’s family and the locals here – it was really special for us and special for them,” Mr Foote told the Today program on Friday.
“We are so thrilled and grateful for everyone and everything that happened, but we are still crying, however, we are still overwhelmed by the end result, but also happy to be here. ‘
It comes hours after Mr Foote broke his silence on the ordeal where he paid tribute to the group’s missing guide.
“My deepest thoughts are with Fifan’s family. Our cheerful young guide who has not been found,’ Mr Foote said earlier on Thursday.
“I wish we could have done more to help you, and it will remain with me as a burden to bear.”
“I understand the loneliness you must have felt during those hours, and my condolences to your family.”
Mr Foote’s thoughts are with the family of Fifan (pictured), the group’s cheerful guide who has not been found
Australian surfers Steph Weisse, Elliot Foote, Will Teagle and Jordan Short (pictured, left to right) spent 36 hours lost at sea before they were finally rescued
The four surfers and their crew had chosen to ride out the bad weather on Sunday evening while a group of eight of their friends took refuge on Saran Alu.
Mr Foote went on to say the experience was ‘something I can’t fathom’.
“My emotions are incredibly mixed; elation, guilt, total adrenaline, anxiety, pure joy and bliss,” he said.
“From the moment the boat sank until the moment we were reunited on Pinang Island, uncertainty was the only certainty.
“I didn’t know if my eight friends had arrived on the island on Sunday evening before us, if my girlfriend Steph, Will and Jordan had been found and rescued before me, or if I should go out and find them. ‘
Meanwhile, back home in Australia, surfers’ families have mounted a fundraising online to support Mr. Satrio and the Haloban Village who have come together to search for the missing tourists.
This is the incredible moment Steph Weisse, Will Teagle and Jordan Short and an Indonesian crew member were found after 36 hours lost at sea
Elliot Foote (pictured with girlfriend Steph) thanked everyone involved in the search
“The purposes of the fund are: to assist and support the family and community of the one crew member who remains missing, to compensate those who dedicated their time and resources to the rescue effort, and to help ensure may nothing like this happen again,” the page reads.
“We also seek to express our gratitude and reward the individuals, businesses and organizations that have participated in the ongoing search and rescue operation. These teams have offered their resources, time and effort without a second thought and where possible we will use these funds to ease the financial burden of their rescue effort.
The fundraiser has already raised more than $30,000, including a major donation from Mr. Foote’s father, Peter.