Melawati clung to a floating palm tree for five days, surviving on fruit and bark from the tree and enduring bites from fish. Here is the Associated Press account:
(AP January 3, 2005)–A Malaysian tuna ship rescued an Indonesian woman who drifted for five days in the Indian Ocean after last week’s tsunami swept her out to sea from her home on Sumatra island, an official said Monday.
Melawati, 23, was spotted alive Friday while clinging to a floating sago palm tree in waters near Aceh province, said Goi Kim Par, manager of the Malaysian international Tuna Port. Melawati uses only one name.
NPR added this morning that Melawati’s husband is missing . . . and she is pregnant. Her determination to survive and the new life that survives in her womb give rescuers new hope. But she is still devastated. Fishermen on the boat that saved her said she cried continually on the three days before arrival at the Malaysian port.