Fishermen found after six weeks adrift in Pacific

By: AFP      Published: 12:11 PM, 15 May, 2020
Fishermen found after six weeks adrift in Pacific
File photo.

Two emaciated Marshall Islands' fisherman have washed up on a tiny Pacific atoll after six weeks adrift, authorities said Thursday, but there was no sign of a third person believed to have set sail with them.

Their small outboard-engine boat beached at Namoluk, the smallest atoll in the Federated States of  Micronesia (FSM), 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) from where they set out.

"They were skinny and weak as you would expect after 40 days at sea," Marshall Islands Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal said.

The men were identified as Godfrey Capelle and Thomas Benjamin, but there was no word on the fate of Junior Joram who was believed to have been with them when they were initially reported lost at sea.

The three men left Ebeye Island in the Marshall Islands on a fishing trip on April 2 but their craft soon developed engine trouble at they drifted out of the Kwajalein's lagoon during a period of high winds and rough seas. 

Searches by the US Army, Coast Guard and Marshall Islands Sea Patrol proved fruitless.

Epic tales of survival are not uncommon in the western Pacific, where tiny islands are separated by vast expanses of ocean.

In 2006, three Mexicans were rescued near the Marshall Islands after nine months drifting across the Pacific Ocean.

In 2014, a Salvadorian castaway was rescued in the same area after 16 months adrift.