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Rescuers save family adrift at sea for 6 days

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Family safe after being lost at sea
  • The family is safe after going missing October 31
  • Four are treated for hypothermia and malnourishment
  • The Coast Guard says they were found 2,300 miles south of Hawaii

(CNN) -- Rescuers spotted a family of four who had been lost at sea for six days and helped them safely to shore in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, authorities said.

Teams from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal New Zealand Air Force found the family Saturday.

They had gone missing October 31 after setting sail from Kiribati in a four-meter (13-foot) aluminum boat, Maritime New Zealand said in a statement.

Government officials in Kiribati -- a Pacific nation of 33 coral atolls that straddles the Equator -- made an international appeal for help with their search Thursday.

After a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane first caught sight of the missing boat Saturday afternoon, a team aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rush dispatched a fast rescue boat to meet them.

They treated a 53-year-old man, a 54-year-old woman and two boys, ages 7 and 8, for mild hypothermia and malnourishment, then flew them to Kiribati's Butaritari village via helicopter, Maritime New Zealand said.

The family was found about 2,300 miles south of the Hawaii and 230 miles from Butaritari -- the nearest body of land, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

CNN's Greg Morrison contributed to this report.