The New Zealand Defence Force has sent a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft to help search for two Kiribati who failed to return from a fishing trip four days ago.
18 March 2018
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has joined the search for two Kiribati fishermen who failed to return from a fishing trip four days ago.
Air Commodore Andrew Clark, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland about 6.30am today to help search an area in the Pacific Ocean that spans 127,969 square kilometres.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand requested NZDF support after an air and sea search directed by Kiribati authorities failed to find the men, Air Commodore Clark said.
The men, aged 45 and 30, left Taboiaki village in Kiribati’s Nonouti atoll on a six-metre aluminium boat about 3am on 14 March to fish off the south end of the atoll.
Nonouti is about 4000 kilometres north of Auckland, and the Orion is expected to reach the search area about midday.
The NZDF flew nearly 140 hours on 12 search and rescue missions in New Zealand and the southwest Pacific last year.