( dpa ) - Two teenage stowaways fleeing hardship in Kenya spent eight days on the high seas tethered to the ledge of a bulk carrier with a makeshift rope before landing safely in South Africa, a local newspaper reported Monday.
The two youths, aged 16 and 18, hopped aboard the ship in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and were discovered only when the vessel dropped anchor Saturday off Port Elizabeth in southern Algoa Bay, the Eastern Province Herald reported.
Hard times in Kenya, which has been gripped by violence since a disputed presidential election in late December, drove them to South Africa, Africa's biggest economy, in search of work, they told Ian Gray, head of the National Sea Rescue Institute in Port Elizabeth.
It was not clear how long they had spent in Kenya.
"They had been hiding on the ship's ledge (above the rudder) and had travelled through rough seas for eight day," Gray told the paper.
"They had some dry bread and dry biscuits, but no water when they were discovered. It was pure tenacity that they survived," he added.
To secure themselves to the ship they had fashioned a rope from their clothes. On arrival they were tired and cold but a doctor found them to be in good health.
The elder of the two Tanzanian-born teens, whose parents still live in their home country, was due to appear in court Monday charged with illegal immigration. The 16-year-old was taken to a juvenile facility while authorities tried to contact his parents.