25 Nov 2011

Two Kiribati men safe after 33 days at sea

6:08 pm on 25 November 2011

Two Kiribati men survived nearly five weeks in the open ocean before drifting into an isolated atoll in the southern Marshall Islands on Thursday.

The men, aged 53 and 26, are in reasonable condition after a medical check by a health aide on Namdrik, an atoll about 500 kilometres north of Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati.

The men were reported lost at sea in Kiribati on October the 22nd at which time the United States Coast Guard co-ordinated a three-day air and sea search.

The men told people on Namdrik that a week before they landed, they were feeling weak and sick from lack of food.

Arrangements are in progress to get the men transferred to Majuro and then returned to Kiribati.

The US Coast Guard says the search for another Kiribati man who went missing in his boat near Betio several days ago has been suspended pending further developments.

The 24-year-old had remained aboard the two-metre aluminium skiff while two companions went diving about 180 metres from land.

When they surfaced the boat and its passenger were gone.