Two young adventurers who had survived for two days by clinging onto a cliffside in Rabat had drunk their own urine to stay alive, as shocking details of their two-day ordeal continue to emerge.
In his first comment since this morning’s rescue operation, one of the survivors – Nick Johnson said on Facebook: “Thank you everyone. Happy to be alive and not drinking urine anymore. Dunno what to say, it feels like a dream.”
Johnson 19, and Mark Petric, 21, were reported missing on Saturday after two bags carrying clothes, shoes and two mobile phones were found by fisherman around Blata tal-Melħ in Rabat at 5am.
They were found this morning by fishermen Tony Zammit, who had seen them clinging for their lives on the cliffside as he went out fishing, an hour before a major drone search was set to begin.
He called the police who, after descending on site, decided to call in the Armed Forces of Malta, who deployed a helicopter and a patrol boat to the cliffs and rushed the two youths to a waiting ambulance.
The police said in a statement that their condition is still unknown, but early signs are positive.
Petric and Johnson were last seen riding their bicycles on Friday afternoon, and the bikes were later found in a cave near Fomm ir-Riħ.
Malta this weekend experienced strong winds and rough seas, raising fears that the boys may have found themselves in difficulty while swimming.
“They kept encouraging each other to stay alive and keep calm”
Francesca Vincenti (family friend)
A family friend, Francesca Vincenti, said that the two young men had been clinging to the rocks for the entire time over the weekend.
“They left their bikes and went down for a swim, as they knew the area fairly well,” she told The Times of Malta. “But minutes after they went into the sea, they realised it was going to be very difficult to get out again as the wind and sea were really picking up. There were stairs leading up the cliff on either side but they could not get to either of them. They saw the boats passing by, searching for them, but their cries could not be heard above the raging sea.
She said the men decided to climb into one of the nearby caves, where they could see the rescue boats passing by
“Their cries could not be heard above the raging sea,” she said.
“I think that the hardest thing to do was to stay there until it was safe enough to swim out, and they told us that there were many times that they were tempted to do so, but stopped each other from doing so.
“They kept encouraging each other to stay alive and keep calm. As soon as the seas calmed down this morning, they were able to swim out.”
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Note: while it is commonly depicted to be a good survival technique, authorities on survival advise against consuming urine in view of high salt concentrations. It is unclear whether drinking urine has helped or hindered those who have survived in the past; the body itself has its own ways of conserving water in severe conditions.