Seven rescued after days adrift in Pacific Ocean

One boat had drifted almost 300 kilometres off course

New Zealand's military said on Tuesday that an air force plane found seven people who had gone missing. RNZAF via AP
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Seven people on two small boats that drifted for days in the Pacific have been rescued after a New Zealand plane spotted them near the remote island nation of Kiribati.

New Zealand’s military on Tuesday said the crew aboard an Orion plane had spotted the two boats within 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometres) of each other on Monday after the vessels went missing in separate incidents late last week.

The military said one of the boats had drifted 150 nautical miles (280km) from its intended course, while the other was found closer to where it had gone missing near Makin Island.

The plane's crew dropped survival kits with water and locator beacons to those aboard, then contacted nearby boats to rescue the survivors. Among those rescued was an 11 year old.

The seven people were aboard two small boats near the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati. RNZAF via AP

Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said it was a great result to be able to find the survivors.

In a social media post sent before they were found, the Kiribati government said it had requested New Zealand send a search and rescue team and was grateful for their continuing help during such incidents.

Kiribati, about 3,000km south of Hawaii, is home to about 114,000 people and does not have its own military.

Updated: May 24, 2022, 12:42 PM