Missing Boaters Found Alive Off Oahu

Thursday, October 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HONOLULU (AP) — Two men said they survived more than three days at sea on Pop-Tarts, beer and juice before they were rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard.

A search plane spotted Ian Buscher, 33, and Tom Zelko, 40, in their 14-foot craft about 60 miles northwest of Oahu about 3 p.m. HST Wednesday, an official said.

The men were hoisted along with Zelko's black Labrador, ``Lucky,'' onto a Navy helicopter, then examined at a hospital and released.

``We were just out in the middle of the Pacific — didn't know where we were, didn't know where we were going,'' Buscher said.

The two had left Oahu on Sunday for a 4-hour pleasure cruise to Molokai, some 50 miles southeast, and back.

But on the return trip, volcanic haze set in and the boaters lost sight of both islands, Buscher said. Then they ran out of fuel.

``We shared a Pop-Tart a day and we shared a beer in the morning and juice at night,'' Buscher said, adding that the pair had supplies to last about 10 days.

The search — involving five planes — was expanded from about 1,800 square miles Monday to 20,700 square miles Tuesday.

``They're both very seaworthy men and very strong,'' said Buscher's wife, Tracy. ``It was just a matter of time for them to find them.''