Lost at Sea for More Than a Month, Couple Finally Flies Home on Continental Micronesia
Tuesday February 28, 5:00 pm ET

HAGATNA, Guam, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lost at sea for more than a month after their boat engine failed, a couple from the Pacific island of Kiribati is finally flying home today (March 1) on Continental Micronesia.

"The story of how this couple survived more than a month at sea is miraculous," said Continental Micronesia Staff Vice President of Marketing and Sales Walter Dias. "It's also a heartwarming story of the warmth and hospitality of the Pacific islanders who took this couple in. Being part of this tradition of hospitality in the islands is why we wanted to help," said Dias.

The couple is leaving Chuuk on their journey home with complimentary air travel provided by Continental Micronesia.

On Dec. 30, 2005, the couple took their 19-foot wooden boat with a 40 h.p. outboard motor from Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, to an outer island to pick up a relative. Just as they were a few miles away from their relative's island, the outboard motor died. Winds pushed them faraway. The Kiribati government called a search and rescue, but it was not successful.

The couple drifted for more than a month, almost two thousand kilometers from their country of Kiribati. Finally a fishing vessel's helicopter spotted the wooden boat close to the island of Kapingamarangi, south of Pohnpei. The chopper picked up the couple and brought them to the mother ship, which in turn took them to Chuuk, according to Mason Fritz, Director of Chuuk Visitors Bureau, who has been helping to take care of the couple.

They have been recovering on the island of Chuuk under the care of several good Samaritans and the hospitality of the local people. The couple is leaving Chuuk on a Continental Micronesia flight.

"The couple has traveled a long distance from their home, and we're glad to reunite them with their 10-year-old son," said Continental Micronesia President and Chief Executive Officer Mark A. Erwin. "We fly these long distances across the Pacific, and how they survived the vast Pacific is nothing short of a miracle," Erwin said.

The couple's ten-year-old son has been waiting in Tarawas since the couple left last year.

Continental Micronesia provides scheduled air service from Hawaii through the Marshall Islands to Kosrae, Chuuk, and on Guam three times weekly. Chuuk and Pohnpei are also served by Continental Micronesia from Guam five times and four times weekly, respectively, and to Kosrae three times weekly. Yap is served from Guam and Palau three times weekly. Guam is the region's hub and it is possible to fly from anywhere in the world connecting through Guam on Continental Micronesia.

Continental Micronesia is headquartered in Guam and operates a Pacific hub from the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport. A wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL - News), Continental Micronesia offers more than 290 departures each week between 22 cities throughout the Pacific Rim, the Micronesian Islands and Hawaii with a fleet of 13 next-generation Boeing 737 narrowbody and 767 widebody aircraft. In addition, Continental Micronesia and its code share partner Cape Air operate commuter service between Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.