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Seven people rescued in Pacific Ocean after ferry went missing

Seven people, including an unconscious baby, who went missing after their ferry sank, were rescued from a life raft in the Pacific Ocean Sunday, authorities said.

At least 50 people were aboard the MV Butiraoi, a 57-foot wooden vessel, when it was traveling between Nonouti Island and South Tarawa in Kiribati on Jan. 18 officials in New Zealand said.

A military plane located the life raft and dropped food, water and radios for the survivors, who were drifting for four days, said New Zealand Defense Force Air Commodore Darryn Webb.

There were no signs of other survivors, and it wasn’t clear what caused the ferry to sink, Webb said.

A fishing boat at sea had picked up the survivors Sunday afternoon, he said, adding that officials plan to interview them before deciding whether to continue the search.

New Zealand officials found out about the missing boat on Friday. The ferry had its propeller shaft repaired — which might have caused navigation problems — before leaving Nonouti Island, officials said.


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