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Australia says 2 fishermen rescued; report 18 lost
The men, 22 and 24, from the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, were rescued from the Torres Strait by a helicopter Saturday and flown to a hospital on Thursday Island off the coast of Queensland state, Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins said.
Both men stood in the pink ice box which has waist-high sides and waved when they were spotted by a customs border protection patrol flight.
The men told police they had been aboard a 30-foot (9-meter) wooden fishing boat that sank Dec. 23 with a total of 20 crew from Thailand and Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
Jiggins said the men found refuge inside a large insulated box that held ice on the boat. "At the time of the sinking, the two survivors also witnessed other crew in the water with no flotation devices," she said.
She did not know what the men ate or drank during their ordeal.
One of the rescuers, pilot Terry Gadenne, told Seven Network television that each man drank about four pints of water within seconds of being hoisted aboard the helicopter.
An official at the hospital, Dr. Oscar Whitehead, said the men were in good condition and would be discharged into the care of immigration authorities later Tuesday. He said their greatest medical problem had been dehydration.
Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan said the men would likely be kept in a motel at Thursday Island under the department's supervision while officials attempted to prove their identities. Neither man had identity documents.
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