Four young Aussie friends who went missing at sea during a surfing holiday in Indonesia have been found floating on surfboard, waiting for help to arrive.
Elliot Foote, his partner Steph Weisse and mates Will Teagle and Jordan Short were among a group of 12 Australians travelling on two wooden longboats between Nias Island and the Pinang Surf resort on the Banyak Islands, off the west coast of the mainland.
The two vessels ran into bad weather during the 50km voyage on Sunday, which usually takes around three hours.
One of the boats found refuge on Sarang Alu, an island halfway from their destination, but the boat carrying four Australians and three Indonesian crew members continued to attempt to make the crossing despite the treacherous conditions.
Rescuers spent most of Monday night frantically searching in bad weather before Steph, Will and Jordan were found alive and well in waters off Indonesia’s westernmost islands on Tuesday morning.
Elliot’s father Peter Foote, was speaking with reporters at the time while remaining hopeful that his son would also be found.
Confirmation came that Elliot had also been found shortly afterwards with Mr Foote receiving a text message moments later.
‘Hey Dad, Elliot here. I am alive, safe now, love you. Chat later,’ his son had texted.
A relieved Mr Foote is now keen to speak to Elliot as soon as possible.
‘I still want to talk to him. I’m happy, you know, I’m happy like I can talk now, you know, I’m not gonna crack up and break down,’ he said.
Four Australians who went missing on a charter boat off between Nias Island and the Pinang Surf Resort, on Pinang Island have been found (pictured: Elliot Foote and Steph Weisse)
‘I don’t know if I can celebrate. He’s put me through too much pain to celebrate.
‘I’ve aged in the last two days, 100 per cent.’
He has been told his son is en route back to Penang Island, where he’ll be reunited with his partner Steph and mates.
He had became separated from the trio when he paddled to an island on his surfboard to seek help.
Mr Foote hopes to get a call from Elliot later on Tuesday.
‘He’ll hook up with his mates and hopefully grab a phone that works and give me a call from there,’ he said.
‘They’ll be calling off the search now and Elliot will be on his way back to the island, they’ll all regroup and get healthy and probably have a great night tonight.’
Mr Foote set up a base camp from his Bronte home on Monday while keeping in frequent contact with authorities involved in the search and rescue efforts.
It’s understood an Australian expat volunteering in the search efforts for the group was the one to find missing Aussies.
They’ve been in the water a long time, I don’t know how they’re going to be health-wise,’ Mr Foote said.
‘But they’re found, they’re alive, they’re well. It’s all good, it’s fantastic news. It’s unbelievable actually, I’m so stoked about that.’
He also thanked Australia for the outpouring of support.
The boat hasn’t been located and it remains unclear if the local crew members on board had been located.
Aussies Jordan Short and Will Teagle have also been found
Peter Foote (pictured) was speaking to the media at his home when confirmation came through that his son Elliot had also been found, along with his three friends
The group of 12 were all friends who were celebrating Elliot’s 30th birthday.
They were intending to travel to the island to rent exclusive bungalows and surf for 10 days.
Hours before they went missing, Elliot revealed on social media that it was ‘so good’ to be back in Indonesia.
‘Soho gulah Sorake … so good being back in Indo after so many years. Sharing waves with mates and the queen,’ he posted on Instagram.
‘Starting the trip off with hiking in the North Sumatran jungle and seeing Orangutan’s was an amazing experience and something that I look forward to doing again for a longer time and going deeper.
‘Bukit Lawang is a beautiful spot with such kind people.’
The four Aussies were found hours after their frantic families put out a statement on Monday night via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
‘Our hearts are aching at the thought that Elliot, Steph, Will and Jordan are missing at sea,’ they said.
‘We continue to pray and hold out hope they will be found.
‘We’d like to thank the Indonesian authorities and the Australian government for their ongoing assistance while search and rescue efforts continue.’
Initial search parties were launched by the Pinang resort and local authorities first this Monday morning.
The group were among a group of 12 Australians across two wooden longboats travelling between Nias Island and the Pinang Surf resort on the Banyak Islands, off the west coast of the mainland, when the vessel struck bad weather on Sunday
Elliot Foote (pictured with girlfriend Steph Weisse) texted his father shortly after being rescued on Tuesday
The group were staying at the exclusive Pinang Surf resort (pictured)
Indonesian National Search and Rescue agency Nias Island chief Octavianto said a rescue team of more than 20 police, military and volunteers utilised small boats to battle heavy weather in further attempts to find the Aussies.
‘Last night the Pinang Resort reported that a speedboat with 10 passengers had arrived in Pinang Island (at around 10.18pm local time), while another speedboat with seven people on board had not arrived yet,’ he said.
‘We’ve deployed three ships, and they are now moving towards the location for search and rescue.
‘However, the issue is that the (missing vessel) is a basic wooden boat without any tracking devices or the like.’
Pinang island is known for its seclusion, stunning scenery and world-class surf breaks (pictured, Jordan Short)
Poor weather and visibility has so far hindered the ability of search parties to locate the missing Aussies (pictured, Steph Weisse)
Pinang island is known for its seclusion, stunning scenery and world-class surf breaks.
It costs USD$150 per night to stay on the island for a ‘self-sufficient’ bungalow, that provides ‘daily surf trips to the Bay of Plenty or Bangkaru Island, plus transfer from and back to Nias airport’.
‘Our friend and surf guide will take you around to all the best spots,’ the resort’s website reads.
Guests on the island receive an inclusive breakfast, lunch and dinner and access to ‘snorkelling, fishing, spearfishing, SUP and kayaking.
The resort’s website states they are booked out between August 13 and August 23, believed to be the party of 10 Australians.
It also provides travel to the island from Nias, the website stating they will ‘be picked up and whisked off to our island by speedboat’.
Elliot Foote shared a series of photos (one above) of the group of 12 friends’ holiday just hours before boarding the missing longboat
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12407255/Miracle-four-Australians-charter-boat-never-returned-resort-private-island-Indonesia.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Miracle as all four Australians found after a boat was hit by wild weather while on surfing trip in Indonesia