‘Real-life Aquaman’ swims 7.5km after Tonga eruption, tsunami

Source: 1News

A man who swam 28 hours from Tonga’s Atatā Island to the main island Tongatapu after a volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami is being hailed as a “real-life Aquaman”.

When tsunami waves from last week's eruption hit, Lisala Folau was reportedly swept out to sea.

He was forced to swim 7.5km to Tongatapu - via two smaller islands - around 6pm on Saturday (local time), reaching the shore of Sopu at 10pm on Sunday.

"He was found on Sunday night. He practically crawled towards the road so that he was able to be found," Marian Kupu of media agency Broadcom Broadcasting, based in Nuku'alofa, told 1News.

"He drifted away and he was holding on to some of the debris caused by the eruption from the islands."

Folau was interviewed by Broadcom after the ordeal.

"Lisala is still in shock because of what happened," Kupu said.

"Even five days later he was very emotional when he was talking and sharing his experience. I saw some scars on him, on his face and his body. He looks very weak given the conditions and everything."

Earlier on Thursday, the New Zealand Defence Force's Hercules aircraft left for Tonga, taking urgent aid supplies including water containers, temporary shelters and generators.

The Hercules' departure was delayed this week after ash on Nuku’alofa airport's runway prevented landing.

New Zealand also sent two naval ships on Tuesday carrying supplies and survey equipment, with one expected to arrive later today.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare said the aid delivery from the Hercules would be contactless, with the aircraft expected to be on the ground for only 90 minutes.