A New Zealand Air Force plane discovered seven people near the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati who had gone missing in two small boats late last week in separate incidents.
A spokesperson for the New Zealand Air Force said the crew on an Orion plane had coincidentally spotted the two boats within 18.5 kilometres of each other on Monday after both boats were reported missing in separate incidents from the island nation of Kiribati.
He said that one of the boats was discovered close to where it had gone missing near Makin Island, while the other boat had drifted 280 kilometres from its intended course.
The New Zealand Air Force crew managed to drop survival kits containing water and locator beacons to those on board the lost boats. Local boats were then dispatched to rescue the survivors. An 11-year-old was among those rescued.
Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said it was a fantastic result to be able to confirm they had found the survivors on both boats.
The Kiribati government said that it had requested a search and rescue team be sent from New Zealand and that they were grateful for their help during the incident.
Kiribati is located south of Hawaii and is home to approximately 114,000 people and does not have its own military.