Wellington, May 25 (BNA) Seven people have been rescued aboard two small boats that drifted for days in the Pacific Ocean after they were spotted by a New Zealand plane near the remote island nation of Kiribati.
New Zealand’s military said on Tuesday that the crew aboard Orion had accidentally spotted the two boats within 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) of each other on Monday after the two boats were lost in separate accidents from the island nation late last week, the Associated Press reported. .
One of the boats drifted 150 nautical miles (280 km) off its intended course, the military said, while the other was closer to where it went missing near McCain Island.
The military crew was able to dump the survival kits with water and positioning beacons for those on board, then contact the nearby boats to rescue the survivors. Among those rescued was an 11-year-old.
Air Commodore Sean Sexton said that being able to find survivors on the two boats was a fantastic result.
In a social media post sent before the survivors were found, the Kiribati government said it had asked New Zealand to send a search and rescue team and was grateful for their continued assistance during such incidents.
Located about 3,000 kilometers (1,900 mi) south of Hawaii, Kiribati is home to about 114,000 people and does not have its own army.