Orion joins missing fishing boat search
A radar-equipped Orion aircraft has joined the search for a missing fishing boat, the Moeraki Bay.

National Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman Paul Harrison said the Air Force aircraft was diverted from a routine patrol to make a radar search of an area up to 740km east of Wellington.

The Moeraki Bay, a 13.4m wooden vessel with a crew of two, has not been heard from since the evening of May 17, shortly after leaving Wellington.

Mr Harrison said the vessel could have been struck by a rogue wave in Palliser Bay and had its wheelhouse swept away, destroying radio equipment, a cellphone, the boat's beacon and its life-raft.

If this was the case, Mr Harrison said, there was a "reasonable chance of the boat still being afloat."