Kupang. Eight traditional whale hunters who went missing after their boat was dragged down by a killer whale into the sea off Lembata district, East Nusa Tenggara, were found safe after they reportedly swam for 16 hours to reach land.
The eight men were among 12 whale hunters from Lamalera village in the subdistrict of Wulandoni in Lembata, who were hunting on Thursday on board their Bero Blolong boat in waters off neighboring Ata Dei subdistrict.
Four of the fishermen were found safe on Thursday evening after they managed to swim ashore. The eight others were previously missing and feared dead, but were found at two different locations in Ata Dei.
“Eight fishermen were found safe, but two of them were injured so they have to be treated at Lembata Hospital,” Lembata deputy head Viktor Mado Watun said.
He added the eight men had swum for 16 hours before they managed to reach land.
Lamalera had been in a state of mourning for the eight hunters.
Lamalera, on the southern tip of Lembata, is one of only two traditional whaling communities on the island. Combined, they usually hunt about a dozen sperm whales in a year.