A ship has rescued two men whose boat had been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean south of the Canary Islands for 20 days, officials said Friday.

The men, who were on a recreational fishing trip and had run out of drinking water eight days ago, were spotted Friday while drifting without power 160 miles south of the island of Tenerife by a Cypriot merchant ship, which took them aboard.

Rescue officials could not immediately explain how they survived for eight days without water.

A Spanish helicopter was scrambled from Tenerife to winch the men up and fly them to a hospital, a Canary Island rescue service spokesman said on condition of anonymity in keeping with the service's rules. The air crew reported the two men, Cristo Rey Herrera, 64, and Jose Quevedo, 61, were in good physical condition despite their ordeal.

They had no radio aboard and had not filed proper paperwork for the trip, the spokesman said.

Their boat, the 33-foot Saulo, was reported missing March 15 by relatives, the spokesman said.