New Zealand rescuers found 7 survivors from a ferryboat carrying 50 people that went missing over a week ago from Kiribati. According to Defence Force Air Commodore Darryn Webb, a military Orion plane had found the survivors on Sunday, January 27, aboard a small dinghy and had dropped them supplies including water, food and a radio. A fishing vessel had diverted to the location and was expected to pick up the survivors Sunday afternoon, January 28.
Authorities said the 57-foot (17.5-metre) wooden catamaran MV Butiraoi left Nonouti Island bound for South Tarawa on January 18. The journey of 149 miles (240 kilometers) was expected to take 2 days.
Senior Search & Rescue Officer John Ashby said the ferry had been first reported missing on Friday. The 33 atolls making up Kiribati occupy a vast area in equatorial Pacific. A lot of the atolls are inhabited and most of them are low-lying, at risk from rising sea levels as a result of global warming.