Orion joins search for missing vessel

2:43PM Monday Aug 10, 2009

An air force Orion has flown out of Auckland today to help search for a fishing boat missing near the Pacific island group of Kiribati.

The 4.9m boat, believed to have three people on board, left Tarawa Atoll early on Saturday morning to fish between Tarawa and Maiana atolls.

It did not return to Tarawa later that morning as scheduled, prompting a request for help from the Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji for airborne surveillance to assist the local navy patrol vessel in its search.

"This is the fourth international call out for the squadron in 10 days," the commanding officer of Number 5 Squadron, Wing Commander Nick Olney, said.

"It is a timely reminder for all ocean goers, recreational or otherwise, to ensure they are equipped for the environment and the unexpected."