"Bear in mind that I am disabled," he said after the rescue.
A disabled Tongan man miraculously survived a volcanic eruption and a disastrous tsunami this week, and his incredible tale has earned him the nickname "Aquaman" in his home country.
The disabled carpenter, Lisala Folau, had been washed away by a tsunami caused by the volcanic eruption on January 15, and he managed to stay alive for over 24 hours before he was rescued.
He was found five days after the volcano erupted, alive and OK, reported The Guardian.
Folau recently shared his survival story in an interview with a local radio station in Tonga, which an editor later translated and posted online.
He said he was busy painting his house at the time of the disaster, and before he knew it, the tsunami was already flooding through the foundations of his home and it was too late.
"I left everything and tried to escape but bear in mind that I am disabled," said Folau in the interview. "I can't walk properly. Both my legs are not working properly, and when I can, I believe a baby can walk faster than I."
His brother and nephew came to assist him, but it was too late as tsunami swept into the house. Folau estimates it was 6 meters high.
Folau's brother managed to get him and a few family members to the eastern side of the house, where they escape the harshness of the waves coming in from the west.
However, before they knew it, a wave even bigger than 6 meters had broken on land, destroying their home and sweeping Folau and his niece out to sea.
He recalled hearing his son calling out for him, but Folau said he remained silent so as not to put his son's life in danger too.
"I could hear my son calling. The truth is no son can abandon his father. But for me, as a father, I kept my silence for if I answered him, he would jump in and try to rescue me," said Folau.
"My thinking was if I answered him, he would come, and we would both suffer, so I just floated, bashed around by the big waves that kept coming."
Eventually, after over 24 hours, Folau made it to shore and managed to seek help from locals who helped him get home.
Tongans on social media are reportedly calling Folau a "real-life Aquaman," given his ability to survive the ravaging sea despite not being able to walk.
One of Folau's sons shared his reaction to his dad's tale in an emotional Facebook post.
"My tears continued to fall when I think of my Dad swimming around in the ocean after the tsunami hit … My heart is broken imagining you drinking in the seawater Dad, but you’re a strong-willed man.”
It's unclear what happened to Folau's niece.
The volcano and the tsunami temporarily cut Tonga off from the outside world, and the extent of the damage is only just becoming clear as Tonga comes back online.