New Zealand Defence Force, partners locate two missing Kiribati fishermen

Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and partner agencies from Fiji and Kiribati have successfully located two Kiribati fishermen who were initially reported missing at sea.

The two men were located on Monday, January 16, after the crew of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft were tasked to assist in the search effort.

The Orion crew found the two men in their dinghy shortly after arriving in the search area on the afternoon (local time) of Monday.

The two men had been missing from Kiribati for six days, with several agencies involved in the search and rescue (SAR) operation.

The Fiji Rescue Coordination Centre requested assistance after the two men were reported missing. Maritime New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) provided drift modelling and search areas.

The US Coast Guard sent a C-130 aircraft to search the area but was unsuccessful before the RNZAF Orion joined the search.

After finding the men, the Orion crew dropped a survival pack to them. The survival pack included water, a radio, a torch, and an activated personal locator beacon to pinpoint their location for crew on a rescue vessel.

A Kiribati SAR vessel was later despatched to the area to take the survivors to safety.

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