Six Russian boaters whose skiffs became separated from their companions while crossing the Bering Sea were found in good condition after being lost for four days, the Coast Guard said today.
The boaters had become separated from a larger group while making a 65-mile Bering Strait crossing from St. Lawrence Island off Alaska's west coast to Provideniya on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula.
A Coast Guard plane spotted four people in two skiffs Saturday, about 30 miles east of Provideniya, the Coast Guard said.
A short time later, two others in a third skiff were spotted by a Russian freighter. All were hungry and thirsty, but did not appear to be seriously injured, officials said. They were taken aboard a Russian freighter bound for Provideniya.
The six were part of a group of 37 people, mainly Siberian Eskimos, who had set out Tuesday in 14 skiffs. They were making the six-hour crossing loaded with supplies and gifts from relatives and friends in Gambell.
Many residents of Russia's Chukotka Peninsula share the same Siberian Yupik Eskimo ancestry and language with residents of St. Lawrence Island.
The flotilla ran into rough seas during the crossing. A father and son drowned when a skiff sank.