PNG FISHERMEN FOUND NEAR TARAWA AFTER DRIFTING MORE THAN TWO MONTHS

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TARAWA, Kiribati (October 23, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Five fishermen from Kavieng in Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province, missing for more than two months, have been found on the high seas by the crew of a United States fishing boat, El Vina Da Rosa.

The five men, picked up by the U.S. vessel about 500 miles east of Tarawa, were taken to Port Betio in Kiribati Saturday for medical treatment.

A sixth man died just a few hours before the fishermen were sighted. The Kiribati government provided him with a funeral service.

Meantime, the five survivors, all aged 18 - 20, are recuperating at Kiribati's Central Hospital.

The men said they left home on a fishing trip August 15, but were caught in a sea storm and swept into the open Pacific Ocean.

During their more than two-month ordeal, they survived mainly on fresh fish.

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