28 September 2018
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for two Kiribati fishermen who failed to return home from a fishing trip on Tuesday.
Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft currently in Fiji had been sent to join the search after a request from the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre (FMSRCC).
The Orion is expected to reach the search area, which is about 2,000 kilometres north of Fiji, early this afternoon.
The FMSRCC said the two men – aged 32 and 42 – were last seen leaving on a five-metre fishing boat from Kuria, a pair of reef islands in Kiribati’s Central Gilbert Islands, about 6am on Tuesday.
Local aircraft and a ship have been searching since Wednesday.
“We are hoping for the best possible outcome,” Air Commodore Walshe said.