The New Zealand Defence Force has found two men adrift on a boat in the Pacific, four days after the fishermen were reported missing from Kiribati.
FILE PHOTO: Royal New Zealand P-3K2 Orion. NZDF photo.
Acting Air Component Commander Group Captain Daniel Hunt said crew from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft spotted the men on a five-metre fishing boat on their second day of searching for the missing fishermen.
“They have contacted two vessels in the area and asked them to pick up the two men,” Group Captain Daniel Hunt said.
“The vessels are expected to reach the men’s location early this evening.
“After refuelling in Tarawa, the Orion will return to the area to help facilitate the rescue.
“We have not yet established radio contact with the men but it is likely they are the ones we have been looking for.”
The Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion joined the search after a request from the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre (FMSRCC), which is responsible for the search area.
FMSRCC said the two men – aged 32 and 42 – were last seen leaving on a fishing boat from Kiribati’s Central Gilbert Islands about 6am on Tuesday.
NZDF support was requested after a search by local aircraft and a patrol boat since Wednesday had no success.
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