The heartwarming text message Elliot Foote sent his father Peter to let him know he was safe after he went missing for two days has been revealed.
Elliot was celebrating his 30th birthday on a surfing safari with a group of friends when they went missing.
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The group were among 17 people who were travelling in two wooden speedboats on Nias Island late Sunday, heading to Banyak when they encountered bad weather and heavy rain. They had not been in contact since.
However, on Tuesday Peter says he received a short 13-word text message from his son.
“Hey dad Elliot here. I am alive. Safe now. Love you. Chat later,” the text read.
In fact, Peter was speaking to 7NEWS journalist Robert Ovadia on Tuesday when he heard for the first time that Elliot and his partner Steph Weisse, alongside their friends Will Teagle and Jordan Short, were all found alive.
Ovadia was in between live crosses to the 11.30am 7NEWS Sydney bulletin with Ann Sanders, when Peter’s partner Susan Whitla raced outside on a balcony to deliver the news as the cameras were still rolling.
“It’s saying they’re all found,” Susan can be heard yelling down from the balcony, with her phone held in her hand.
The moment Peter Foote (pictured, left) and a neighbour (right) found out his missing son Elliot Foote had been found safe in waters off Indonesia has been caught on camera by a 7NEWS crew. Credit: 7NEWS
Whitla then revealed she had been told four people had been found rather than three, before ducking back inside.
“They’re saying it’s four people, but it’s not been confirmed yet,” Peter told 7NEWS.
“(Susan’s) on the phone to somebody, hopefully it’s one of the boys.”
Susan then walked back out onto the balcony to confirm the news: “OK, they’re all found.”
The family’s neighbour whooped joyfully in response, coming over to pat Peter on the shoulder.
“It’s going to be the biggest bender ever,” he joked.
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About 90 minutes later, Peter received the text from Elliot.
Steph Weisse, Will Teagle, Elliot Foote and Jordan Short. Credit: 7NEWS
Foote had actually launched his own extraordinary search and rescue mission from Bronte beach.
There, he coordinated friends, hired charter boats, used social media and offered rewards to local fishermen.
“It was a great effort,” he said.
“We were trying to get airplanes and helicopters, and it turns out just a guy in a yacht’s found them,” he said.
Minutes before being told his son had been found, Peter shared an optimistic update with 7NEWS, saying he was “stoked”.
“I’m sure Elliot’s not far away.”
At the time, Peter was yet to hear what condition Elliot was in.
“But they’ve been in the water a long time, I don’t know how they’re going to be health-wise,” he said.
“But they’re found, they’re alive, they’re well. It’s all good, it’s fantastic news. It’s unbelievable actually, I’m so stoked about that.”
One of the Indonesian crewmen remains missing.
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