Crew attempting to re-create Pacific Ocean expedition rescued at sea

Mashable. By Jessica Clautz.

A 14-member crew aboard two balsa wood rafts was rescued off the coast of Chile on Thursday, after the vessels were swept up in strong currents hundreds of miles off Chile's coast.

The crewmembers had intended to document marine life, pollution and climate change in the Pacific Ocean, and “double-down” on a famous 1947 voyage from Peru to Polynesia.

“Kon-Tiki 2 got its name because we seek to double-down on Thor Heyerdahl's famous voyage by sailing two rafts from South America to Polynesia and then back,” the organizers say on their website. “No one has done this in modern times, and we will prove that it can be done. It's an unparalleled voyage of survival, science and exploration.”

Instead, they proved it can't be done — at least not this year.

The Kon-Tiki 1 and 2 rafts set sail in early January from Chile's Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean toward the port city of Valparaiso, Chile.

However, strong currents pulled them far off course. The Chilean Navy said in a statement that the rafts were about 994 miles west of Puerto Montt in southern Chile. The Navy was sending a merchant ship about 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) away from the rafts plus a plane to track them from the sky. The group sent out a distress signal Wednesday asking for assistance.

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