NZDF joins search for two missing Kiribati vessels

6 May 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping search for two vessels in Kiribati that failed to return from separate fishing trips last week.

aircraft in the sky
Photo courtesy of NZDF ©2019
A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft

Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland at 6am and was expected to reach the search area, which is 4085 kilometres north of New Zealand, at midday.

One of the missing vessels was a six-metre wooden boat with three people on board, Air Commodore Walshe said.

The second vessel is a four-metre canoe with one person on board.

The Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre, which is responsible for the search area, requested assistance from the NZDF on Sunday after a search by a local patrol boat failed to find either vessel on Friday.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) are helping with providing Search Area Determination (SAD) drift models of the area.

RCCNZ senior search and rescue officer Keith Allen said, these models can give an accurate projection of the rate of drift of various objects based on the current and winds in the area.

The two missing vessels were last seen by a local search aircraft late on Friday afternoon.

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