Chilean Navy begins rescue of Kon-Tiki balsa rafts of coast

The Chilean Navy is working to rescue 14 crewmembers aboard two balsa rafts that were swept up in strong currents hundreds of kilometers (miles) off the coast.

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 Navy said in a statement Thursday they were about 994 miles (1,600 kilometers) west of Puerto Montt in southern Chile. They sent out a distress signal Wednesday asking for assistance.

The crews include citizens of Norway, Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and Sweden.

The official website says the group was sailing to document climate change, pollution and marine life in the Pacific.