NZ crew finds fishing boat adrift near Tonga

 Thursday October 25, 2007

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has found a fishing boat adrift for five days near Tonga.

An RNZAF Orion crew spotted the distressed vessel, Lesila, just before 5pm, about 140 nautical miles south west of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga.

A New Zealand Defence Force spokesman said the fishermen on board were unharmed.

A number of nearby boats had been called in to tow the stranded 10-tonne vessel back to safety, including another boat, Denisiola, that was recently rescued itself.

An RNZAF Orion rescued the Denisiola north of Tonga earlier this month after its engine stopped near a number of dangerous reefs, the spokesman said.