Fri, November 26, 2010
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NZ teens survive 50 days adrift

2010-11-26 09:14:49 GMT2010-11-26 17:14:49 (Beijing Time)

Three New Zealand teenagers are rescued after 50 days drifting in a little-travelled section of the South Pacific.

Dry land - a sight these three teenagers from the tiny New Zealand territory of Tokelau feared they'd never see again.

They spent 50 days adrift in a small boat on the South Pacific.

They were saved by a fishing vessel passing by chance in the little-travelled section of the ocean.

A navy patrol boat brought them in to the Fijian port of Suva for medical treatment.

SOUNDBITE: Fijian Navy Commander Francis Kean saying (English):

"It was fishing up in Tuvalu on its way back to New Zealand. It spotted these guys, teenagers, picked them up. Since it was en route to New Zealand they had to come to the nearest medical facility in Fiji."

There were emotional scenes at the port. The boys' families believed they were dead.

Their ordeal began in October when the two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old set off from Atafu atoll to a neighbouring island - and missed.

An air and sea search failed to spot them.

They drifted for 1,300 kilometres surviving on some coconuts they had with them, fish and a sea gull they managed to catch.

It could be a chance in a million that they've lived to tell the tale.

The trawler that saved them was only in the area because its crew had opted to head to New Zealand to offload their catch.

They would normally have unloaded in American Samoa.


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