Miraculous moment surfers are found floating in the ocean after 36 hours missing
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Dramatic footage has been released on social media showing the moment three Australian surfers who had been lost at sea for over 36 hours were found by rescuers.
Elliot Foote, his girlfriend Steph Weisse, Will Teagle and Jordan Short were heading to Pinang Island, off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, when they disappeared.
The four friends and keen surfers had been travelling with eight other pals to celebrate Foote’s 30th birthday.
The group of friends were travelling on two separate boats when they hit a storm on Sunday (August 13) night.
One of the boats reached the destination after taking shelter, but the other had not been seen since 6pm on Sunday night.
On Monday, a search and rescue effort was launched to find the missing vessel. Three Indonesian crew members were also on board at the time.
Basarnas, the Indonesian search and rescue agency, said more than 20 police, military and volunteers had been searching the sea for the missing vessel.
"Our team has arrived at Sarang Alu Island today to search the area. It is the last spot before both boats separated," Chief Octavianto told reporters on Monday.
He continued: "The waves are three to four metres high. It is raining heavily and it's dark. We can only use smaller boats with good aerodynamics due to the weather. We are searching within 40 nautical miles of Sarang Alu Island."
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade chartered a private plane to join the search.
By Tuesday, authorities found Weisse, Teagle and Short, with footage showing them shouting for help as rescuers arrived. Foote was still missing.
Thankfully, he was found later, having set off on his own to try and get to shore.
His father Peter said: "They all grabbed floatation devices and surfboards and they were huddling together.
“But Elliot decided to paddle and get help. He thought an island was in a particular direction and set off.
“He was petrified. He was drifting on a surfboard on his own for a day-and-a-half and it broke my heart to hear how scared he was.
“At night he was drifting all alone in an ocean and it’s jet black."
Two Indonesian crew members on the boat were also rescued, although one remains missing as of Tuesday afternoon.
Before boarding the boat on Sunday, Foote posted a series of photos of himself surfing on Instagram.
“Soho gulah Sorake… so good being back in Indo after so many years. Sharing waves with mates and the Queen,” he wrote in the caption.