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Tonga survivor Lisala Folau.JPG
World News

Man who survived 28 hours in the sea after Tonga eruption says his faith saved him

by Sophie Drew

A man survived 28 hours in the water following a volcanic eruption in Tonga, and says his faith was what got him through the ordeal. 

The underwater eruption created a tsunami of waves, which engulfed areas of Atala, the island on which he lives. 

57-year-old Lisala Folau was washed out to sea following the disaster, where he remained for more than a day. 

The retired carpenter was painting his house on Saturday evening when he was informed of the incoming tsunami. 

In order to reach safety, he and his niece climbed a tree before making their way down once they thought the waves had cleared. 

Once he’d reached the ground, another wave hit, dragging them off the island and into the sea. 

He told local media agency Broadcom Broadcasting that he could hear his son shouting for him from the land, but didn’t want to endanger his child’s life by shouting back and encouraging him into the water. 

In the interview, Mr Folou said: “What came into my mind when I was helpless? One, that I still had faith in God. Two, I miss my family.”

The Royal Navy is also being deployed to the region in partnership with Australian and New Zealand forces.

It's thought 80 per cent of the island's population has been affected by the disaster which has led to deaths, injuries and the loss of homes.

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