U.S. Coast Guard and Royal New Zealand Air Force rescued a family of four Saturday who were missing since Halloween adrift at sea on a 13-foot skiff.
Without communications or water and only a couple of pieces of fruit, the two adults and two children were fortunately sighted about 2,300 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands by a RNZAF Orion aircraft.
The Orion crew notified Coast Guard Cutter Rush, who was in the area searching after being called to assist the Kiribati Maritime Police Branch on Thursday. Rush dispatched its small boat to the location rescuing the family just before sunset.
The skiff reportedly suffered engine problems during the intended seven mile boat ride to a neighboring island, leaving the family to drift at sea for more than 200 miles.
The family was treated for dehydration, exposure and malnourishment but had no injuries. The Rush crew gave them food, water and berthing during the transport back to Butaritari Atoll.
“It was great to be able to find them after five days drifting at sea,” said Captain James McCauley, commanding officer of Rush, in an interview with CNN. “This is a testament to the great coordination by the Coast Guard in Honolulu and the New Zealand Air Force.”
Rush is a 378-foot High Endurance cutter whose operations can take it’s crew to every part of the Pacific Ocean as well as to the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.