Video: Crew Rescued After Four Days on a Raft Made of Coolers

cooler raft video
Four crewmembers survived for four days on a raft made of styrofoam coolers (SAR Banyuwangi)

Published May 31, 2022 5:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Four crewmembers from an Indonesian coastal ship have a harrowing tale of survival to tell after being rescued from the Bali Sea. The men told their rescuers that they had been adrift for four days on a makeshift raft made of styrofoam coolers taken from their sinking ship.

The Indonesia SAR agency in Surabaya received reports of an overdue ship on May 28 and launched a search covering about 345 nautical miles. The commander of the agency told local media that they had received a report of a styrofoam cooler retrieved from the ocean north of Tabuhan Island and they were hoping the vessel had become stranded in the region. 

The vessel, Zidan Express, had departed on May 26 sailing in tandem with another vessel for an overnight trip due to arrive in the port of Sapekan on Friday morning. Crewmembers from the second ship reported that they lost sight of the Zidan Express overnight on Thursday. They made it to port as planned on Friday and when the second vessel did not arrive concerned family members notified the SAR agency on Saturday morning of the overdue vessel. SAR teams began the search of the region and requested assistance from other vessels in the area.



As the sailors told their tale, their ship lost power in rough seas with strong waves after water reached the engine. They also lost radio contact. Realizing that their ship was in danger they scrounged around finding several styrofoam coolers that they strung together with rope into a makeshift raft. They grabbed bottled water and dried food before they were forced to abandon ship onto their makeshift raft.
Monday, May 30, a fishing boat happened upon the four missing crewmembers from the Zidan Express. They were located some 60 miles offshore but in good health.