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42 Rescued After Abandoning Burning Boat in South Pacific

Forty-two people forced to abandon a fishing boat after it caught fire Wednesday were rescued about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard rescue crew reached the scene around 5:10 p.m. Hawaii time (10:10 p.m. ET) to find 33 people in two life rafts, three work boats and a skiff. The captain and eight crew members had re-boarded the ship and managed to put out the fire and restore electricity and communications, the Coast Guard said.

IMAGE: Coast Guard rescue crew
A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew conducts a preflight briefing before launching Wednesday from Hawaii in response to 40 people who abandoned ship in the South Pacific. Lt. Sarah Bradley — U.S. Coast Guard

A Coast Guard air crew dropped water pumps, flashlights and flares to those aboard the American Eagle, a 258-foot U.S.-flagged fishing vessel, reported the incident at 10 a.m. (3 p.m. ET).

The Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker diverted to assist in the rescue, took the remaining 33 people on board.

No injuries were reported, the Coast Guard said.

The rescue crew flew out of Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii.