Lisala Folau Wikipedia – Lisala Folau Bio
Lisala Folau, a disabled Tongan man has been hailed as a “real-life Aquaman” for reportedly swimming roughly 27 hours straight after being swept out to sea during the devastating tsunami.
Lisala Folau told local radio station Broadcom Broadcasting that he was painting his home on the tiny island of Atata on Saturday night when his brother alerted him about the tsunami after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, the Guardian reported.
He is 57 years old.
Lisala Folau Survives 27 Hour Swim After Being Swept Away by Tsunami
He said his brother and a nephew came to his aid as waves crashed into his home.
“We moved to another part of the house when a bigger wave, this wave I would estimate was about not less than six meters, [arrived],” Folau said, according to a translation of the interview by radio station editor George Lavaka.
“Bear in mind that I am disabled. I can’t walk properly … and when I can, I believe a baby can walk faster than I,” he added. “We hid to the eastern side of the house, the waves were coming from the west so we escaped that wave.”
Folau said he and his niece climbed a tree to escape the rushing water while his brother ran off to call for help.
“When the wave break on land just below us, my niece Elisiva and I had nothing to hold onto and we were swept out to sea,” he told the station.
“We floated at sea, just calling out to each other. It was dark and we could not see each other. Very soon I could not hear my niece calling any more but I could hear my son calling,” Folau continued.
He said he decided not to answer his son.
“The truth is no son can abandon his father. But for me, as a father, I kept my silence for if I answered him he would jump in and try to rescue me. But I understand the tough situation and I thought if the worst comes and it is only me,” Folau said.
“I just floated, bashed around by the big waves that kept coming,” he told the radio station.
When he saw a police boat hours later, he used a rag to wave at it, but the people aboard didn’t see him on their way to Atata. He waved again when the boat headed back, but they missed him again.
Folau continued swimming until he reached the island of Polo’a several hours later.
“I called and yelled for help but there was no one there. My mind was now on my niece that we were washed away together and now I have survived,” he said.
“I was now strong-minded that I could make it to mui’i Sopu,” he said, referring to a hamlet on the main island of Tongatapu, which he reached after a nearly five-mile swim.
“I was thinking about my sister at Hofoa who is suffering from diabetes and my youngest daughter [who] has heart problems. All this was racing through my mind,” Folau said.
A passing motorist finally picked him up.