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New Zealand plane finds 7 missing aboard 2 boats in Pacific

SEVEN people on two small boats that drifted for days in the Pacific have been rescued after a New Zealand plane spotted them near the remote island nation of Kiribati.

New Zealand’s military said today that the crew aboard an Orion plane had coincidentally spotted the two boats within 10 nautical miles of each other on Monday after the boats went missing in separate incidents from the island nation late last week.

The military said one of the boats had drifted 150 nautical miles from its intended course while the other was closer to where it had gone missing near Makin Island.

The military crew was able to drop survival kits with water and locator beacons to those aboard, and then contacted nearby boats to rescue the survivors. Among those rescued was an 11-year-old child.

Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said it was a great result to be able to find the survivors on both boats.

In a social media post sent before the survivors were found, the Kiribati government had said it had requested New Zealand send a search-and-rescue team and was grateful for their ongoing help during such incidents.

Located some 1,900 miles south of Hawaii, Kiribati is home to about 114,000 people and does not have its own military.

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