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PNG men rescued in FSM after five months at sea, living on fish and rainwater

Staff Reporter 12/04/2014 | | |

TWO Papua New Guinea men are in hospital in the Federated States of Micronesia after being rescued from a small boat that was adrift at sea for five months.

They were not named although moves are underway to contact Papua New Guinea authorities about their rescue about a week ago.

The FSM government said the two men had set off on a short trip between islands in New Ireland Province in July, but were caught in a storm and cast adrift, Radio New Zealand International reported yesterday.

It did not name the islands. The FSM is in a northerly direction from PNG and New Ireland.

RNZI reported that Michael Bolong and Ambrose Wavut told FSM officials that they survived on rainwater and fish for five months in harsh conditions, which included storms and exposure to sunlight.

They claimed that a third person, Francis Dimansol, died from severe health conditions while they were adrift in the Pacific.

It was not until November 23, that the men were found by a FSM-flagged fishing vessel, The Yap Seagull, about 200km south of Kapingamarangi Island, the FSM’s southern-most island and one closest to New Ireland.

The men arrived in the capital Pohnpei last Saturday and were admitted to hospital for observation, although authorities claim the men are in good health, RNZI reported.

It said work was now underway to repatriate the men.

This is not the first time New Ireland villagers have been swept away to sea and have survived. Last year, three survived several weeks when their boat engine broke down between Lihir Island and outlaying Tanga.

They drifted north, surviving on fish and rain water until they were rescued in the Marshall Islands, east of the FSM. They have since been repatriated.

Early this year an emaciated man whose boat washed up in the Marshalls claimed he survived 16 months adrift in the Pacific, floating more than 8000 miles from Mexico.

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