Tonga Castaways: The Real Lord of the Flies

In June 1965, six Tongan teenage boys set out on an adventure that turned into a real-life version of Lord of the Flies. The boys, who were stranded on the uninhabited island of Ata for more than a year, survived by relying on primitive instincts, teamwork, and an innate desire to live. Ranging in age from 13 to 16, they were tired of school and wanted adventure. They stole a boat, only to be hit by an unsuspecting storm. Shipwrecked on a remote, uninhabited island 100 miles from the closest city, they soon realized the harsh reality of their situation. The knew they had to find a way to navigate the unforgiving terrain of the island, and after three months were lucky enough to find the ruins of the village of Kolomaile. There, they were blessed with chickens, wild taro and bananas. With that and essential survival skills, they were able to sustain themselves during their 15-month-long ordeal. The most amazing part of their survival story was the fact that they were able to keep a fire burning continuously for more than 12 of the 15 months, after starting it with the basic rubbing of two sticks together. Despite the dire situation, the group of boys managed to maintain their humanity, structure, and a sense of civilization that transcended mere survival. They not only developed ingenious ways to sustain themselves physically but also nurtured their mental and emotional well-being. The boys were rescued in September 1966 by an Australian fishing boat. Upon returning to civilization, the boys, who were long thought dead, were welcomed as heroes.