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Diplomat: Tongan survival story matches events

WELLINGTON (AP) -- A remarkable story about a retired carpenter, who survived in the ocean overnight after the Tonga tsunami swept his out to sea, fits with current events, a New Zealand diplomat stated Friday.

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Diplomat: Tongan survival story matches events

Peter Lund, Acting High Commissioner, said that "it's one these miracles that occurs" on a satellite telephone from Tonga. Communication is still patchy in this region.

People around the globe have been fascinated by Lisala Folau's story at 57 years old. She has walking disabilities and is unable to walk. Many affectionately call him "Aquaman"

Folau, in a translated interview with Tonga’s BroadCom Broadcasting said that he was swept out of his home on Atata Island at 7 p.m. on Saturday and floated overnight before landing on an uninhabited island.

He said that he swam eight more hours to reach a second island, before swimming back to Tongatapu. This was a total of more than 7 km (4.7 miles) in 26 hours.

Lund stated that he was told by Tongan officials, on Sunday after the tsunami, but before Folau was discovered, that a person was missing from Atata Island.

Lund stated that "And they weren’t very optimistic about this."

Officials later changed their figures to show that no one was missing.

Folau shared his feelings during the experience in a conversation with Sky News Britain.

He said that the most frightening part of the ordeal was when waves carried him from land to the sea.

He added, "What was the first thing that came to my mind when I was helpless at Sea?" "One was that I had faith in God. My family is number two. My family is two. I don't know what my family thinks at that time.

Folau claimed that he was painting at home when his brother informed him of a tsunami moving towards the small island. The island has about 60 inhabitants.

Folau's son Koli Folau shot a video on Atata the next day. He went looking for his father. The video shows that the island was almost completely destroyed, save for a church where many of the villager took refuge.

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