Missing boat with 5 Americans lands in Philippines

Vessel failed to arrive on time in its voyage from Pacific island of Guam.

Updated: Jan 24, 2011, 13:44 PM IST

Manila: Five Americans stepped ashore in good health on Monday in the central Philippines following an international search for their sailboat when it failed to arrive on time in its voyage from the Pacific island of Guam, officials said.

The vessel, called the Pineapple, ran into bad weather after departing from Guam on January 06 on a journey to the Philippines and relatives of the crew — four men and a woman — reported them missing on January 18.

A Philippine coast guard ship reached the 38-foot (11-meter) catamaran on Sunday after it was spotted by plane the previous day. Rescuers escorted the vessel to the port of Maasin on Leyte Island, where the crew refuelled, got their passports stamped and treated themselves to a meal, the coast guard said.

With one of its two rudders damaged, the Pineapple will later be escorted to its original destination on Cebu Island.

"They`re all in fine health," coast guard chief Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said of the crew, including a Filipino-American in the US Air Force. The US embassy in Manila has declined to release their identities and hometowns.

The US Coast Guard, which said it had spent 63 hours searching for the sailboat, expressed relief that the boat was found but faulted the crew for failing to take proper precautions. The vessel did not carry long-distance communication or emergency distress equipment and did not file a comprehensive float plan, the agency said.

Bureau Report