‘I thought of God and my family’: Tongan survivor on spending 24h at sea

Guardian News published this video item, entitled “‘I thought of God and my family’: Tongan survivor on spending 24h at sea” – below is their description.

Lisala Folau, a survivor of the Tonga tsunami, spoke on Friday of being swept to sea from the island of Atata. ‘The scariest part of the ordeal for me was when the waves took me from land into the sea,’ he told Sky News. The 57-year-old was swept away by a tsunami generated by a volcanic eruption on 15 January.

Folau, a retired carpenter with a motion disability, managed to stay afloat for more than a day and make his way across the sea to the main island of Tongatapu. He said his faith in God and his family were the two things that occupied his thoughts while he was helpless at sea.

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In This Story: Tonga

Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than 170 South Pacific islands, many uninhabited, most lined in white beaches and coral reefs and covered with tropical rainforest. The main island, Tongatapu, is protected by lagoons and limestone cliffs. It’s home to the rural capital of Nuku’alofa, as well as beach resorts, plantations and the Ha’amonga ʻa Maui, a monumental coral gate from the 1200s. 

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