Facebook Twitter

4 MEN SURVIVE 4 MONTHS ADRIFT IN PACIFIC

SHARE 4 MEN SURVIVE 4 MONTHS ADRIFT IN PACIFIC

An American and three New Zealanders survived nearly four months adrift in the Pacific Ocean aboard their overturned boat, police said Monday.

The four men drifted ashore on Great Barrier Island, 56 miles northeast of Auckland, late Sunday, 120 days after their boat, a trimaran with three parallel hulls, capsized in high seas about 140 miles off East Cape, New Zealand's easternmost point, they said.Coast Guard officials said apart from loss of weight, the survivors were in good physical condition.

The three New Zealanders - skipper John Glennie, 48, Phillip Hoffman, 41 and Rick Hellriegel, 31 - told their story Monday at a packed news conference. The American crew member, Jim Nalepka, 38, did not speak at the news conference and was not immediately available for comment.

Nalepka had been working as catering director at Outward Bound, an adventure school on the New Zealand's South Island. Outward Bound staff said Nalepka had often talked of his home in the "Twin Cities."

Glennie told reporters all four men felt the lack of exercise more than the lack of food during their four months adrift on the trimaran Rose-Neolle and he had lost 21 pounds during the ordeal.

"We had a lot of food in the boat and we rigged up a plastic sheet to catch rainwater. We were able to have cups of tea in the mornings," he said.

Glennie said the foursome left Picton, on New Zealand's South Island, on June 1. On June 4, a huge wave flipped the boat upside down while the crew was below in the cabin.