4 June 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for a Norwegian sailor who activated his distress beacon about 2800 kilometres east-northeast of New Zealand this morning.
Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland at 5am to locate the sailor and his 13-metre vessel SV Albatross, following a request from Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).
The Orion was expected to reach the search area in the Pacific Ocean around mid-morning, Air Commodore Walshe said.
“The crew have been sent to locate the vessel, ascertain what the problem is and provide assistance as required,” he said.
RCCNZ said the sailor left Opua in the Bay of Islands on 14 May for the 4100-kilometre journey to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.
Today’s search in the South Pacific came on the heels of the continuing search for a missing tramper in the Tararua Ranges, which the NZDF was also supporting, Air Commodore Walshe said.
Sergeant Tony Matheson from New Zealand Police said an RNZAF NH90 helicopter would fly up to 50 searchers from Police and New Zealand Land Search and Rescue to the Tararua Ranges this morning to continue to look for a 49-year-old man who failed to return from a five-day tramping trip on Saturday afternoon.