World News

Seven survivors of missing ferry rescued after days adrift in Pacific

Posted January 28, 2018 2:56 a.m. EST

— Seven people who were on a ferry that went missing in the South Pacific a week ago were rescued Sunday, according to the New Zealand Air Force.

The seven were spotted by a New Zealand Air Force Orion patrol plane as they floated in the open sea. The plane directed a nearby fishing vessel to pick up the survivors, the New Zealand Air Force said in a press release.

The seven were among 50 people aboard the inter-island ferry MV Butiraoi, which left the island of Nonouti in Kiribati on January 18 bound for Betio in the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa, according to the release.

Rescue officials said a search would continue for other survivors.

The MV Butiraoi was on a 250-kilometer (155-mile) trip that was expected to take two days, according to New Zealand authorities.

When the 17-meter-long (56 feet) catamaran-style passenger ferry didn't arrive in Betio on January 20, the search began.

New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Center has been in charge of the search since Saturday, taking over from authorities in Fiji.

New Zealand is about 4,500 kilometers (3,425 miles) south of Kiribati.