18 Nov 2009

PNG survivors tell of two-month ordeal at sea

2:29 pm on 18 November 2009

A group of Papua New Guinea men appear to have survived on little more than bark and rainwater during two months lost at sea.

An American fishing boat rescued the seven Papua New Guineans on Sunday, but two died before they arrived in Majuro in the Marshall Islands last night.

The men left Tabar Island in PNG on September the 14th to return home to Lihir Island, about 50 kilometres away.

But they ran out of fuel and drifted northeast before they were spotted in their boat near Nauru.

Douglas Henry, a reporter with the Marshall Islands Journal, says the survivors were helped off the boat when they arrived as they had no strength to walk.

He says they had no fishing equipment and survived by scavenging

"The bark they pound against their boat to make small pieces to dry off under the sun to eat off. They also find some bamboo floating around plastic, and the bamboo and the plastic they used to catch rainwater."

Douglas Henry says an eighth man was lost at sea on Friday.