Air Force Orion locates missing vessel

Missing man located by RNZAF SAR

6 March 2012

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion successfully located a missing 15ft vessel in the Kiribati region yesterday.

One man was onboard the overdue vessel, which was last seen west of Banaba Island, within the local fishing ground. When located, the fisherman was standing up and waving at the Orion crew. The vessel had drifted approximately 52 nautical miles from the fishing ground.

Squadron Leader Alan Brown, who helped coordinate the search and rescue operation, said the Orion responded quickly to a request for assistance, and was able to locate the missing vessel in a short space of time.

"The New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) received a request for assistance from the Republic of Kiribati on the evening of 04 March, after a search conducted by local authorities resulted in no sightings," Squadron Leader Brown said.

"The Orion launched from RNZAF Base Whenuapai at 0700hrs on Monday 5 March, and located the missing vessel within 20 minutes of arriving in the search area.

"The crew were able to drop supplies, including food, water and a radio, to the man. They then located and provided guidance to a nearby fishing vessel to enable it to divert to locate the survivor.

"This was a great result for the RNZAF, and for the survivor on the vessel, who was extremely relieved to receive our assistance."

The P3 Orion is currently conducting a second search in the area.


For further information please contact Katherine O’Donnell, Media Advisor – New Zealand Defence Force on 021 664 293


This page was last reviewed on 6 March 2012.