A shark has reportedly saved a man who was drifting at sea for nearly three months. Toakai Teitoi was in a wooden boat, lost in the Pacific Ocean, alongside the body of his brother-in-law, who died of dehydration during the journey.
“We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink,” Teitoi, a 41-year-old father of six, told Sky News.
The pair ran out of fuel after leaving Tarawa — where Teitoi had visited to be sworn in as an officer — on May 27. They stopped to fish, slept overnight, and woke in the middle of sea. What was supposed to be a two-hour trip back to his home island of Maiana turned into nearly three months.
Teitoi says his brother died in early July. “I left him there overnight and slept next to him like at a funeral,” he said in a statement. The following day, Teitoi buried his brother at sea.
Water he collected from a rain storm kept him alive, and he began to pray.
“There were two choices in my mind at the time,” Teitoi told Sky News. “Either someone would find me or I would follow my brother-in-law. It was out of control.”
Two months later, the shark came.
Teitoi says he woke on Sept. 11 to find the creature circling him and nudging the boat.
“He was guiding me to a fishing boat,” Teitoi told AFP. “I looked up and there was a stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me.”
Teitoi says the shark swam off after it got his attention.
Once aboard, Teitoi says the first thing he asked for was a cigarette.
“They told me to wait,” Teitoi told Sky News. “They took me to meet the captain, and they gave me juice and some food.”
Teitoi plan to take a plane during his next trip.