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Coast Guard finds missing fishermen in Central Pacific

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The Coast Guard Wednesday rescued three fishermen who were adrift for five days without food 80 miles off Tarawa Atoll in the Central Pacific.

The men left Tarawa last Friday in a 17-foot boat on a fishing trip when they experienced engine trouble five miles out. Two of them are 20 years old and the third is 30.

They tried to break off parts of the boat to use as oars to paddle back to shore.

Tarawa authorities began a search Friday after they were reported missing. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji Monday requested help from the Coast Guard.

At 11:40 a.m. Monday the Coast Guard sent a crew aboard an HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point. They traveled 2,100 miles from Hawaii to the search area, then searched a 2,800 square miles area for the fishermen.

The Hercules crew used four self-locating datum marker buoys to calculate drift. The watch commander extended the search area, and the air crew spotted the vessel Wednesday.

The crew contacted Tarawa search and rescue coordinators, who directed a Good Samaritan vessel to the boat.

The men had run out of food the morning they were rescued, the Coast Guard said.

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