Castaways found on Pacific atoll 33 days after going missing

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Castaways found on Pacific atoll 33 days after going missingStock photo, Marhsall Islands: Rex


Two men from the Pacific island of Kiribati (also known as Kiribas) who had been lost at sea for 33 days have been found 300 miles away on the Namdrik Atoll.

The two men, aged 53 and 26, were said to be sick and weak but in a 'reasonable' condition when they were picked up by US Coastguards based in Hawaii.

The Namdrik Atoll is part of the Marshall Islands where, apparently, castaways from Kiribati often find themselves.

Giff Johnson, editor of the Marshall Islands Journal, told ABC's Radio Australia Pacific Beat: 'As odd as it may seem, the Marshall Islands hosts Kiribas drifters quite frequently. It's not that it happens all the time. Let's just say people from Kiribas are very hardy individuals. They get lost on a little boat and manage to persevere. It is an amazing thing.'

It is not known whether the men, who were reported missing on 22 October, were among the region's many fishermen, or exactly where they had started their journey.

Marshall Islands Sea Patrol adviser Lieutenant Commander George McKenzie said the men would be taken to the Marshall Island's capital Majuro, before going home to Kiribati.

There's just one more obstacle they have to get over: the aircraft that flies once a week from Namdrik to Majuro is currently grounded due to maintenance.

Kiribati is an island nation made up of 32 widely-dispersed atolls in the central tropical Pacific, located about 4,000km southwest of Hawaii.

Its tourism office describes it as a place for people 'who like an adventure off the tourist trail', and cites world class fishing (both game and bone fishing), surfing in Fanning Island, World War II historical sites at the capital Tarawa, and amazing snorkelling and watersports as top attractions.

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