NZ Defence Force locates four missing fishermen off Tarawa

Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

Air crew on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft have found four fishermen who had been reported missing while fishing to the north of Tarawa, Kiribati.

The Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji and the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ requested assistance from the New Zealand Defence Force after the four men went missing in a white and grey-hulled, three-metre fibreglass boat.

The men had last been seen in Betio Town, Tarawa, on Friday, December 4, and had left to go fishing near the northern end of Tarawa. Kiribati Police searched over the weekend but did not find the men or their boat.

The P-3K2 flew to Nauru on Monday, December 7, so it could begin the search for the missing men on the following morning.

The Orion air crew located the men at about 11:20 local time. Their boat was drifting approximately 140 nautical miles west of Tarawa.

The air crew dropped a survival pack including a radio to the fishermen, and a nearby fishing vessel was directed to the area to rescue the four. The P-3K2 remained overhead until the four fishermen were taken on board that vessel on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 8.

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