Men lost at sea 2 months found

Nov. 17, 2009 at 8:09 PM
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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Five men from Papua New Guinea who were lost at sea for two months have been rescued and are recovering, authorities say.

Two other men were alive when found near the island nation of Nauru Sunday by a passing U.S. fishing vessel, the Ocean Encounter, but died soon after, Radio Australia reported Tuesday. An eighth passenger was reported to have died when he was swept overboard two days before the rescue.

The five survivors were taken to the Marshall Islands to be treated.

Radio Australia said the men had set out from Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province in a 22-foot launch with no navigational equipment, bound for Lihir Island about 30 miles away, only to run out of fuel.

Ocean Encounter Capt. Ben Maughan told Radio Australia the five survivors were in fair condition. He said he suspected the two who died were in a "very advanced stage of malnutrition." He said the group had no water and probably survived on fish they caught.

"The two that died were in very bad condition when we brought them aboard," he said. "We had to hand-carry them aboard while the other five were able to walk aboard, but very weak, over exposure and, like I said, malnutrition....

"I had the ship's cook spoon feed them just small amounts of water because of their condition and made up a kind of a rice pudding, something soft that their systems would accept."

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