A 14-year-old from Kiribati was rescued after drifting alone in the Pacific Ocean for several hundred miles in a 15-foot-boat that was equipped with a motor which he did not know how to use.

Bwanikatang Tebuanna spent eleven days in the fibreglass boat and ate no food before he was rescued in the Marshall Islands after being spotted by a helicopter pilot. He had been washed out to sea by an incoming tide.

The pilot, who was searching for tuna, also spotted another boat of drifters from Kiribati: three fishermen who had spent 28 days at sea.

According to a report in The Marshall Islands Journal, the teenager was picked up five miles away from the fishermen but they were not aware of each other.


Rescues of drifting fishermen from Kiribati are fairly common in the Pacific, though it is unusual for two boats to be spotted simultaneously.

The three fishermen were in a 15-foot wooden boat that had suffered engine problems. They had fishing gear and were able to survive by catching fish and sharks.

For one of the men, 57-year-old Arawatau Miito, it was the second time he has been rescued after drifting at sea. All four were taken to hospital and one of the fishermen was treated for dehydration.

The four are due to be returned to Kiribati on Sunday.

For decades, the record for drifting was held by two fishermen from Kiribati who spent 177 days at sea in 1992 before coming ashore in Samoa.

However, this record was eclipsed in 2014 by the incredible voyage of Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from El Salvador who was fishing off the coast of Mexico and eventually washed up in the Marshall Islands after spending 438 days at sea.

Alvarenga's young crew mate died during the early part of the journey.

This story was originally publish by The Daily Telegraph.