11 Sep 2006

Four FSM people survive drifting Pacific for 34 days

1:46 pm on 11 September 2006

Four people from the Federated States of Micronesia have been rescued near the Marshall Islands after 34 days adrift in the Pacific.

This is the fourth such incident near the Marshall Islands this year.

The group left the FSM at the beginning of August, but got lost in a storm.

They drifted about 1,500 km and survived on fish and rainwater before being found by some Marshall Islands fishermen.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says it is an astonishing tale.

"This is such a tiny boat. It's a little narrow 15 foot fibreglass boat and you think of four people sitting in this boat for 34 days. They talked about at times there were really huge ocean waves, something like 15 feet high and you look at the size of the boat and you just wonder how they managed to sort out the passengers to keep from being swamped."

But Giff Johnson says the group claims that after being adrift for five days, they were approached by an Asian fishing vessel that came within 15 metres before motoring away, despite their pleas for help.