After being washed out to sea after Saturday's horrific tsunami following a volcano eruption, a 57-year-old Tongan man said he swam for roughly 28 hours. He has been touted a "Real-Life Aquaman."
When the waves hit land around 7 p.m. on Saturday, Lisala Folau, who lived on the small, isolated island of Atata, was swept out to sea.
Folau stated he was painting his house when his brother called to inform him about the tsunami. The waves had swept across his lounge in no time. To get away, he climbed up a tree, but as he got down, another large wave took him away.
The 57-year-old claims to be Disabled and unable to walk normally. In a radio interview with Tongan media organisation Broadcom Broadcasting, he claimed, "I just floated, pummelling around by the massive waves that kept coming."
Folau claimed that he stayed afloat and swam 7.5 kilometres to Tongatapu's main island. He arrived at the beach 28 hours later, on Sunday at around 10 p.m.
On social media, Folau's story has gone viral. "Real-life Aquaman," one person said. "He's a legend," another wrote.
'Atata' is roughly 8 kilometres northwest of Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, or a 30-minute boat journey. In the aftermath of the tsunami, the island was virtually completely destroyed. Tongan naval vessels are still assessing the smaller islands and transporting residents to the bigger islands.
At least three individuals were killed in Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano.