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Tsunami threat following Vanuatu earthquake

A major earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale has struck off the coast of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, prompting fears of a localised tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has said.

The earthquake struck 330 miles southeast of the island and was measured at a depth of around six miles.

A warning was issued for areas close to the quake, but no Pacific-wide warning was issued.


Rowers rescued as boat started sinking across Pacific

A team of British and New Zealand rowers taking part in a race from California to Hawaii have been airlifted to safety after their boat began sinking during the challenge.

Two of the four crew members who were airlifted to safety during the Great Pacific Race. Credit: YouTube/TeamPacificRowers

Fraser Hart, 33, from Tunbridge Wells, Sam Collins, 24, from Cornwall, James White, 35, from London and Colin Parker, 35, from Auckland, New Zealand, were attempting to row the 2,400 nautical miles from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday.

Their boat began taking on water and a support boat from the Great Pacific Race was sent to evacuate them when they were 77 nautical miles due west of Morro Bay but it was unable to do so due to "dangerous weather conditions".

The US Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from San Francisco to evacuate the crew at 11.30pm local time yesterday.

Chris Martin, race director of the Great Pacific Race, confirmed all four of the men were "safe and well" with no reported medical problems.

Tsunami warning as quake strikes near Solomon Islands

A tsunami warning has been issued for Solomon Islands region in the Pacific Ocean after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck near the islands.

Solomon Islands Credit: Google Maps

A tsunami warning was issued for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and surrounding areas, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. A tsunami watch was in effect for Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Guam and nearby areas.

Story of fisherman adrift for more than a year probed

The acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands has said he is somewhat sceptical of fisherman Jose Salvador Albarengo's account of being adrift for more than a year after meeting him yesterday.

Albarengo told officials he and a second fisherman set sail on a shark fishing trip from Mexico - 6,200 miles away - in late December 2012 but were blown out to sea. The second fisherman died but he says he went on to survive eating a diet of raw fish and turtle blood.

Jose Salvador Albarengo was found in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean during the weekend. Credit: Getty

Gee Bing said: "It does sound like an incredible story, and I'm not sure if I believe his story. When we saw him, he was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts. Once we start communicating with where he's from, we'll be able to find out more information."

Mexican fishing boat owner Villermino Rodriguez Solis said Mr Albarengo and a companion had gone missing on November 18, 2012, which would imply the sea odyssey lasted more than 14 months.

"Here, his colleagues went out in boats to look for them. They spent four days looking for them," said Mr Villermino, who expressed surprise that Mr Albarengo had been found alive in the Marshall Islands.

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