18 June 2017

Tanzania: Two Fishermen Survive 17 Days On Sea As Boat Sinks

Photo: Daily News
Sinking boat (file photo).

Zanzibar — It might look like fiction from a script of a boxoffice movie, but for two Comorians it was a matter of life and death.

The two fishermen in a bizarre incident survived for 17 days on the sea, without food and clean water, after their boat capsized while on a fishing mission.

The fishermen, who were trawling in the Indian Ocean, held onto dear life when their boat capsized at an unknown area in the sea and ended up being washed onto the shores of Malindi Beach in Zanzibar, on June 13, this year. T

he two lucky men also have well-wishers to thank after they quickly informed the police when they were discovered unconscious along the beach.

The Urban West Regional Police Commander (RPC), Hassan Nassir, confirmed the incident and elaborated that the police rushed the survivors to Mnazi Mmoja Hospital where they underwent special treatment for four days.

He went on to name the two Comorian fishermen as Mohamed Ali Rashid (35) and Mohamed Said Swalim (37) and revealed that they were discharged from hospital on Friday.

He said that the fishermen were thankful to hard work and brilliant services from the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital doctors and nurses, who spent sleepless nights to save their lives. According to the fishermen's account from the hospital bed, they met the near death experience when they were fishing in the deep seas.

Their boat was hit by strong waves and despite drawing all their experience and expertise to try and save the situation; their efforts were futile as the boat succumbed to waves and capsized. The fishermen then began a long journey to uncertainty when they started to swim hoping to reach the shores.

The fishermen swam for 13 days while eating raw fish and drinking sea water. They went on to explain that when tired, they just floated on water and resume their journey when after resting. But, in a sudden turn of events that almost claimed their lives, the fishermen ran out of food something that made the last four days of the journey difficult.

They started starving and were powerless to continue swimming and it is when they decided to float on water, until the waves washed them along the shores at Malindi Beach.

Speaking with the 'Sunday News' a doctor at the hospital who preferred anonymity because he was not the spokesperson, said that the 'miracle' fishermen survivors were in critical condition when they arrived, suffering from Hypernatremia, a situation whereby one has excess sodium in the body. According to the doctor, the problem was caused by eating fresh fish and sea water in large amounts.

"They had no food and water so the only way they could survive was by eating fresh fish and drinking 'salty' sea water and that is why they had Hypernatremia. We managed to help them gain consciousness first and then continued with other treatments.

Hypernatremia patients feel dizziness or even lose consciousness after blood sodium levels are significantly elevated," said the anonymous doctor.

He added; "We came to understand what really happened to them after one of our team members who speaks their language translated to us that their boat capsized and they survived on sea water all the days."

Expounding further, he said the victims had less chances of being found alive if they had spent two to three more days without being discovered, commending doctors on duty that day saying they offered a 'heroic' service.

The survivors were discharged on Friday afternoon and are currently being held by the immigration department in the Isles. And contacted for comment, the department said it will issue an official statement tomorrow.


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