Mobile Phone Saves Tourists Half a World Away

Nick Hodgson was drinking at a pub in Cornwall in southern England at around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, when his mobile phone rang. It was a mobile text message from his 19-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Fyfe.

Nothing wrong with getting a call from your girlfriend first thing on Valentine’s Day, except that Fyfe was thousands of miles away, off the coast of Indonesia — and her life was in danger.

“Call Falmouth Coastguard, we need help — SOS,” was all the message said.

Fyfe, along with two Hodgson’s friends from work, and 15 others, were on a boat around 500 yards off Lombok, Indonesia, in the Lombok Straits between Bali and Lombok when the engines of their 70-foot wooden boat suddenly died.

The boat, called the Ombak Indah, which means “beautiful waves” in Indonesian, was not equipped with a radio to send out an SOS and the 18 people on board were getting desperate as their boat drifted uncontrollably.

The passengers included 10 Britons, one Australian, one New Zealander and six Indonesian crewmembers.


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