msnbc.com
updated 11/25/2010 8:07:19 AM ET 2010-11-25T13:07:19

Three teenagers have been rescued after 50 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean, according to reports.

The trio survived by drinking rainwater and sharing raw fish and a seagull which they'd managed to catch, rescuers said.

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The boys' families had assumed Samuel Perez and Filo Filo, both aged 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, were dead and held memorial services for them.

The teens had been last seen in their small boat near the atoll of Atafu on October 5, the BBC reported. They had traveled about 800 miles when they were found north-east of Fiji on Wednesday.

"We got to them in a miracle," Tai Fredricsen, the first mate aboard the tuna boat which found them, told New Zealand's stuff.co.nz website. "Yesterday we saw a small vessel, a little speed boat ... and we knew it was a little weird. We had enough smarts to know there were people in it and those people were not supposed to be there.

"I pulled the vessel up as close as I could to them and asked them if they needed any help ... They said 'very much so.' They were ecstatic to see us.

"They were very skinny, but physically in good health, compared to what they have been through. They are in incredibly good shape for the time they have been at sea."

The boys had suffered sunburn, the BBC said. However, they only required basic first aid.

The teens, who are from the New Zealand-administered territory of Tokelau, had been forced to drink seawater when it didn't rain for almost three days at the end of their ordeal.

"Somehow they caught a bird, I don’t know how, but they caught it," Fredricsen told stuff.co.nz. "They ate it."

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The BBC quoted Fredricsen as saying they were in "reasonably good spirits" when they were rescued.

Authorities in New Zealand used two planes to search a 10,000-square mile area of the South Pacific when they vanished last month. However, the operation was later called off.

The teens were spending time on the tuna vessel watching cartoons and listening to music, the BBC reported.

They were were being taken to Suva, Fiji, according to reports.

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