A dinghy with eight people on board believed to be survivors from a missing ferry in the Pacific Ocean has been found a week after the larger vessel disappeared, New Zealand authorities said Sunday, NBC News reported.
"The crew has dropped them aid supplies containing water, food and a radio and are currently trying to establish communication with them," Royal New Zealand Defence Force Air Commodore Darryn Webb said of the survivors in a statement.
The roughly 55-foot wooden catamaran ferry MV Butiraoi with an estimated 50 people on board was traveling between two islands in the nation of Kiribati when it went missing. It left Nonouti Island for the nearly 150-mile journey to Betio on Tarawa Jan. 18 and was supposed to arrive two days later, New Zealand officials said. Local authorities had been searching for the ferry, and New Zealand announced it was joining the search Friday local time.
"The Orion will continue to search the area, making every effort to locate any more survivors, while awaiting the rendezvous with the fishing vessel," Webb said. The MV Butiraoi is believed to have carried two dinghys.