WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- The U.S. Navy said it rescued three fishermen Tuesday who were adrift on a boat in the Pacific Ocean for eight days.
The men were reported missing Feb. 12 after failing to return from a fishing trip in Micronesia, the Navy said. The men had food and water aboard their 19-foot skiff but no safety equipment or radios.
The U.S. Coast Guard based in Guam searched for the men for several days before calling in a Navy team from Japan, who used a P-8A Poseidon plane equipped with advanced radar to find the boat within three hours.
The Navy said they dropped a kit to the boat containing food, water, medicine and communications equipment before a nearby police boat picked up the fishermen a few hours later.
"It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of saving lives -- it's what everyone joins the Navy to do," said Lt. Miles Schumacher, the tactical coordinator of the Patrol Squadron Eight aircrew.
Schumacher said in a statement that the P-8A Poseidon aircraft had enabled a "massive step forward" in the ability of search-and-rescue teams to search large areas quickly and effectively, even in the farthest corners of the globe.
Micronesia is about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia, and is home to about 100,000 people.